A video interview with

Francisco Alarcón

Francisco X. Alarcón (1954–2016) was an award-winning poet who wrote for both children and adults. Born in Los Angeles, California, he considered himself "bi-national," having spent time as a child in both Mexico and the United States. He expressed this in a poem: "I carry my roots with me all the time/Rolled up I use them as my pillow." Alarcón's poetry was inspired by songs he heard from his grandmother, which he presented for readers in both English and in Spanish.

Watch the interview below to learn more about Francisco X. Alarcón, or read a short biography about him. You can also view the interview transcript or see a selected list of his children's books


Like many other Mexicans at the time, Francisco Alarcon's grandparents moved to the U.S. following the Mexican Revolution (1910-917). They returned to Mexico after the Big Depression. Alarcon's U.S. born mother and uncles returned to the U.S. in the 40s during the war effort. For Alarcon, who was born in the U.S. but also lived in Guadalajara, Mexico as a child, the border doesn't really exist. Francisco Alarcon is a bi-national, bi-cultural, bilingual poet and educator. His children's books vividly paint pictures of Latino culture, family, fun, and flavor. Alarcón directed the Spanish for Native Speakers Program at the University of California, Davis, before his death in 2016.

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald