ReadersMagnet Review gives you a glimpse of the life and works of author Nelibeth Plaza.

ReadersMagnet has a special place for children’s book writers. Throughout its existence, it has featured numerous children’s illustrated books and authors. Recently, we have feature the book Is It Santa? by Nelibeth Plaza. The author and her books are among those featured in the recently concluded The Festival of Storytellers, ReadersMagnet’s first-ever virtual books fair, which ran from April 23 to 25 until April 30 to May 02, 2021. Today, we will get to know more about Nelibeth Plaza, her life, and the inspirations for her wonderful kid’s stories.

Nelibeth Plaza: Early Life and Career

Nelibeth Plaza enjoyed writing since she was young. It was her dream to write her own books someday. But before she realized that childhood dream, Nelibeth got married and became a mother at a very young age. At eighteen years old, she had to take care of the family, especially her children. When her marriage failed, and she got divorced at age twenty-seven, she had to support herself and her children and build a career. So she worked as a waitress and attended college. 

Her daughter Rebekkah was only ten, while Elizabeth was six at the time.

Nelibeth Plaza got her degree from Brooklyn College and became an elementary school teacher. She did not stop there and went on to pursue higher education. She then became an assistant principal. Her favorite subject as a teacher was Writing Workshop. The subject allowed students to produce their own creative stories, something that is close to Nelibeth’s heart as a kid. As a form of celebration, parents were invited into the classroom so they could proudly listen to their children take turns sitting on the author’s chair, reading their hard-covered published book out loud.

After twenty-seven meaningful years of service in the Department of Education, Nelibeth Plaza officially retired in 2019. Her work as a teacher and as an assistant principal has touched and inspired many lives.

Journey to Writing Children’s Books

Even before her retirement, Nelibeth Plaza already planned to write and published her own children’s books. An accident in 2015 forced her into a wheelchair and to undergo physical therapy. One day, after a therapy session, she and her daughter Elizabeth were looking at old family photo albums when they stumbled upon a photograph of the old family rocking chair. It has been in the family for around half a century. Then she told Elizabeth, “If that chair can speak, amazing stories it will tell.” And the rest is history as Nelibeth published her first book, The Red Oak Rocking Chair, in 2018. It featured a heartwarming family story, especially of her granddaughter Mya and their experiences with the rocking chair throughout the years.

Nelibeth Plaza’s second book, Is It Santa?, was released in 2020. But the idea for this was an incident featuring Nelibeth’s former co-worker Alexis, who narrated to her about an intruder, which apparently was living in her attic. While Alexis was at work, the squirrel scatters her basket of cookies on the living room sofa, coffee table, and both end tables. While Alexis continued telling her about her experience, Neilbeth visualized Pepito, the neighborhood squirrel, and his entire family caught with their hands full of cookies. This incident is the inspiration for Christmas cookies for Santa on Nelibeth Plaza’s book came from.

 Is It Santa? has been featured in several virtual book exhibitions and events recently.

A sequel to the book will be published soon. The said book will feature the same characters but with a whole new plot. Currently, Nelibeth is just enjoying her retirement and her journey as an author.

To know more about Nelibeth Plaza and her works, buy her books or check out her website, as well as the official website for The Festival of Storytellers 2021, where Plaza is among the participating authors.