Isabel Quintero (she/her)

“Visiting schools is one of my favorite ways to engage with the curiosity of others! I want students to know that their questions, their experiences, and their imagination is fuel for storytelling, and that no matter how weird or how marginalized they may feel their voice and stories matter.” 


Isabel Quintero is an award-winning writer and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She lives and writes in the Inland Empire of Southern California. 

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces (Cinco Puntos Press), her first YA novel, was the recipient of multiple awards including the Tomas Rivera Award, California Book Award Gold Medal, and the Morris Award for Debut YA Novel. She is the author of the chapter books, Ugly Cat and Pablo (Scholastic, Inc.) and Ugly Cat and Pablo and the Missing Brother (Scholastic, Inc.). In 2016 Isabel was commissioned by The J. Paul Getty Museum to write a non-fiction YA graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications), which went on to be awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Most recently, My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Kokila), her latest book, earned the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award. Her books have garnered many starred reviews and have been included in multiple best of lists including NPR’s yearly Book Concierge List, NYPL’s best of list, and the New York Times Best Books list.

Isabel earned her B.A. in English with a concentration in literature and her M.A. in English Composition from California State University, San Bernardino. She has worked in education for the last twenty years in various capacities. She’s worked as a teacher’s aide in a school for children with special needs, as an AVID tutor, an elementary school library tech, a substitute teacher, an adjunct instructor at several community colleges, and even briefly as a high school English teacher.

When she is not writing, Isabel helps facilitate creative writing workshops for youth in the Inland Empire and assists in whatever literary arts endeavors as she can in the region. She believes it is her responsibility to share and extend the platform and opportunities she’s been given with others, especially marginalized voices.

And when she’s not doing that, Isabel spends time with her family, her partner, and her friends doing things like hiking, watching movies, laughing, and cooking.

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