Estela Bernal was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. She’s a graduate of E-E High, UTPA (now UTRGV) and California State University, Sacramento. Although she currently lives in Portland, OR, she’s returned to the Valley every year (pre-Covid) to visit family and friends.
An avid reader, she started writing for children because she believes there’s a great need for diversity in children’s books. Her most recent book, Reservations Required, was released by the University of Houston’s Arte Público Press in November. In addition to this young adult novel about a girl’s struggle to overcome the obstacles that stand between her and her dream of becoming a chef, she’s written a middle grade novel (Can You See Me Now?) and a picture book story (Mount Tabor: Home of Ardi the Squirrel) published in an anthology of stories by Oregon authors—Oregon Reads Aloud.
Another reason she writes is that she wants to do more to support education, animal welfare, and environmental protection. For these reasons, she donates the author’s proceeds from her writing to organizations that support these causes, among them The RGV Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, Yaqui Animal Sanctuary, the UTRGV campus cat project as well other local and national/international groups and individuals involved in providing services to underserved communities.
Estela will be visiting various schools throughout the Valley on her next visit and will be offering a free workshop for aspiring writers (ages 12 through 18) at The Storybook Garden (260 S Texas Blvd, #106, Weslaco) on Saturday, April 9th at 10 AM. She will also be reading at the Mayor Joe V. Sánchez Public Library, 525 S. Kansas Ave, Weslaco that afternoon at 2 PM. Anyone wishing to sign up for the workshop and/or order copies of Reservations Required may contact The Storybook Garden Bookstore. Please note that in order to allow space between participants, the workshop will be limited to twelve. Bring Paper and pencil for notes and short exercises.