Episode 85 | Poetry, Prose, and Chronic Illness Narratives w/ Jasminne Mendez

Season #2

In today’s episode, we dive deep into Jasminne Mendez's celebrated novel "Aniana Del Mar Jumps In," which has received the prestigious 2024 Pura Belpre Honor Award.

Together, we'll navigate the powerful currents of her narrative, where poetry meets prose to explore the pressing themes of chronic illness, cultural identity, and the transformative symbolism of water. Jasminne, with her personal connection to these narratives, will share her insights on the connections between her characters and her own life experiences, including her Dominican roots and her journey living with an autoimmune disease. We'll discuss the often underrepresented struggles of women of color in literature, particularly the experience of young Latina women who find solace and strength in swimming.

Jasminne will also take us behind the scenes of her character development, particularly the nuances of Dominican masculinity and familial dynamics that resonate throughout her work. Plus, we'll unravel her emotional connection to poetry, and her transition from poet to novelist.

To wrap things up, we'll hear about Jasminne's literary inspirations, her advice for aspiring writers, and where you can follow her work online. So, settle in as we turn the page into the powerful story of Aniana and the rich tapestry of experiences that define Jasminne Mendez's craft.


Jasminne Mendez is a best-selling Dominican-American poet, translator, playwright, audio book narrator and award winning author of several books for children and adults. Including the middle grade novel in verse Aniana del Mar Jumps In (Dial) which received the 2024 Pura Belpre Honor Award. Her other books have received prizes from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Writer’s League of Texas and the International Latino Book Awards. She is an MFA graduate of the creative writing program at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and a University of Houston alumni. She is the Program Director for the literary arts non-profit Tintero Projects and she lives and works in Houston, TX.

Social Media:

IG/Twitter @jasminnemendez

Website: www.jasminnemendez.com