Lil’ Libros, a Latina-led independent press, has signed a deal to publish a children’s cookbook by Marcela Valladolid. Valladolid is a celebrity chef, bestselling author, designer, mother, and businesswoman. She has also hosted two TV series (Mexican Made Easy and Relatos Con Sabor) and cohosted the Emmy-nominated Food Network show The Kitchen, as well as appearing as a celebrity judge for three seasons on Food Network’s Best Baker in America. Valladolid’s fourth adult cookbook, Fiestas: Tidbits, Margaritas & More, was published last year by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Lil’ Libros is a bilingual children’s book publisher in Los Angeles, started by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein in 2014 with the mission of publishing books that celebrate Latin American culture and important figures in its history. To date, the company has published 23 titles and will release 10 in 2020.

PW spoke with Valladolid, Rodriguez, and Stein about the partnership.

What does this partnership mean to you?

Marcela Valladolid: I am super excited about this partnership! This will be my fifth book, but it’s my first children’s book, and I hope it’s the first of many. I love Lil’ Libros’ books, and my three- and four-year-olds are obsessed with their books. I completely identify with their stories, and they remind me of my childhood in Tijuana. I’m also a bit nervous because I have never done a children’s book, but I’m confident that with Patty and Ariana’s guidance we will publish a great book.

Due out in the fall of 2021, this will be more than a cookbook. It will also teach vocabulary, culture, and how food is an avenue for connecting generations and transmitting our cultural heritage. I want children to feel proud of their heritage.

Patty Rodriguez: This is an exciting time for Lil’ Libros. Since we started this company, our dream has always been to create beautiful books for all children, focusing on stories and creators that are constantly being overlooked. Marcela has all the ingredients you want in a storyteller: she is passionate about her art, and her mission is aligned with ours.

Ariana Stein: We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Marcela Valladolid to our family. Marcela is an inspiration to many, and we are honored that she’s given us the opportunity to publish her first children’s book. This partnership helps us deliver on our promise to bring talented voices to Lil’ Libros.

Marcela, you have published all of your cookbooks with major publishers. Why did you choose a small independent publisher for this book?

M.V.: I could have gone to the major houses but felt this was the right fit and the right time for me. And who better for me to partner with than a Latina-led publisher? I love their books, and I’m a great admirer of their work and mission, so when Patty approached me, I knew it was right.

What’s new for spring and summer from Lil’ Libros?

A.S.: In late March, we are releasing The Solar System with Ellen, a bilingual astronomy board book inspired by Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina to go to space. We are also accepting submissions, because we know our community is full of storytellers and creators. Our doors are wide open.