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Get to Know Ari Tison

Llyr Heller, Librarian, Teen'Scape,
Author Ari Tison and her books, Saints of the Household and Our Shadows Have Claws

Ari Tison is an amazing Bribri (Indigenous Costa Rican) poet and author who has won several awards for her incredible work. Her latest accomplishment includes the release of her young adult hybrid novel, Saints of the Household in 2023, and she's also got an untitled young adult novel coming up in 2025. Ari's short stories have been published or are forthcoming in notable publications such as Our Shadows Have Claws by Algonquin Young Readers in 2022 and ReLit by Harper Collins.

Ari's unique and lyrical writing style made us curious about how she utilizes literature and storytelling to foster connections between different communities and promote cultural understanding. Ari shared her insightful perspective when we asked her about it, saying, "Storytelling is ancient. It existed long before printing presses and written language. We all come from storytellers, and everything has a story. To build a bridge, you need to create or imagine a story that will allow you to construct it. A story that feels real and strong, so the bridge becomes real and strong too. Stories are essential for our survival, and undoubtedly, they are one of the best ways to connect with others who are different from us. I mean, who can resist a good story, right?"

Ari has some valuable advice for aspiring writers of all ages. She encourages them to remain hungry for knowledge and personal growth in their craft while seeking out mentors. However, she emphasizes the importance of staying true to one's own passions, fascinations, and love for storytelling. According to Ari, our unique voices are what carry us through our creative journeys, and they will naturally evolve as we grow and change. She urges writers to trust their voices because they possess something special they can only offer.

When we talked to Ari about her debut novel, Saints of the Household, she expressed her genuine honor in including her Indigenous language, Bribri, alongside Spanish and English. Through this book, she had the opportunity to share two translations of Bribri stories that had never before been available in English. Ari emphasized how translation forms connections between her community and others, including those of the Bribri diaspora.

Discussing the impact of libraries on communities, Ari expressed her deep appreciation for their commitment to equity. While she acknowledges the desire for education and degrees to be universally accessible, she recognizes that libraries play a vital role in providing access to a wealth of resources. She believes that libraries, with their diverse collections and curated spaces, contribute to equity by showcasing the world beyond the confines of a particular city or town. The more libraries accurately reflect the world's diversity, the better they can serve their visitors.

As for Ari's ongoing projects, she's currently immersed in writing her second young adult novel, set to be released in winter 2025. This book follows the journey of a teenage Bribri girl who embarks on a quest for truth after her activist relative mysteriously passes away on Indigenous territory. In addition, Ari is also working on several short stories and anthology projects, along with picture books and a middle-grade novel.

We're thrilled to share that Ari Tison will be one of the featured authors at the upcoming Los Angeles Libros Festival. This fantastic bilingual book festival, perfect for the whole family, will showcase stories and music from Latin America and the United States. The festival will occur in person at the Central Los Angeles Public Library on September 29, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Book cover of Saints of the household
Saints of the Household
Tison, Ari

Book cover of Our shadows have claws: 15 Latin American monster stories
Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories