The Book Savor series grew out of my love for good book, great friends and interesting conversations about what we are reading.

This week’s guest, Monica Olivera, the founder of and, talks about the books she savors.

1.Carmen Amato: What was the first book you read that marked the transition from reading kids’ books to grown-up fare?

The Thin Man novelMonica Olivera: Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man. Actually, My grandfather, who was always reading, had a collection of Hammett’s books that included the Thin Man series, The Maltese Falcon, The Dain Curse, and a few others. And I’m sure that was when my love affair with mysteries began. Soon after these books, I was gobbling down Agatha Christie and others. Our local library was a home away from home, as was a nearby second-hand bookstore.

2. CA: You are shipwrecked with a crate labeled “Books.” What 3 books do you hope are in it?

MO: Anything by Elizabeth Peters, Garrison Keillor, or Isabel Allende. I can’t really narrow it down to three books since there are so many that I love and enjoy. My bookshelves groan under the weight of my “favorite” reads from which I simply cannot part. And I have eclectic tastes because I enjoy a good mystery just as much as I do a good comedy or drama. I cannot resist a well-told story.

3. CA: What book would you give as a housewarming gift and why?

MO: Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor. Because every home deserves laughter.

4. CA: You can invite any author, living or dead, to dinner at your home. What are you serving and what will the conversation be about?

MO: Rudolfo Anaya, I think. I would serve warm pork tamales (if I knew how to make them), fresh limonada, and maybe flan for dessert. Or tres leches. We would talk about the desperate need for our children to hear and read these stories that reflect our childhood experiences and how by writing we in some way immortalize said childhood and the loved ones who may have since passed on.

We would talk about how critical it is for our children to hear and read our stories so that they can grow up with confidence, knowing that their history matters and that they have the ability to make a difference.

5. CA: Can you leave us with a quote, a place, or a concept from a book that inspired you?

MO: “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ~Maya Angelou

I agree and think we should nurture a child’s love of reading with books about subjects that he or she is passionate about. Living books make learning a joy.

Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences or less.

I am a homeschooling Latina mami of two who is passionate about reading and education. My most vivid childhood memories are of spending time in libraries and second-hand bookshops. I cannot enter a bookstore without making a purchase because I can’t resist the possibility of a well-written story.

More about this week’s guest: Monica is the founder of, a home schooling resource for Latino families, and is speaking this week at the LATISM13 conference in New York City. I met Monica through the Latino literacy website, of which she is also a founder. As many readers know, I wrote book discovery posts for the L4LL website this past summer. Working with Monica has been a joy due to her professionalism and clear communications.

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