Although Hilda was born and raised in New York City, she did not speak English until she started school.  Her parents are originally from the Dominican Republic, and they always spoke in Spanish to Hilda and her three sisters.  This was quite common in their neighborhood of Washington Heights, where there are a lot of native Spanish speakers.  The first time Hilda read a book — back when she was a student at P.S. 132 — she knew she wanted to be a writer.  She loved to read and always enjoyed school.  I guess you could say she was kind of nerdy.  Here she is at her eighth-grade graduation when she was twelve years old:

8th grade grad

After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, Hilda headed to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in French and Spanish Literatures.  (Now she got to read books in three different languages, which was very exciting!)  She received her law degree from Harvard Law School and then returned to the Philadelphia area, where she currently works as an attorney.  She and her husband have two grown children and an adorable dog named Bear.  As you can see, Bear doesn’t enjoy reading as much as Hilda does:

Bear reading

Hilda’s first middle grade novel, Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle, was a 2015 Lee & Low Books New Visions Award finalist.  It was released by Tu Books (an imprint of Lee & Low) on October 2, 2018. Her first picture book, The Cot in the Living Room, illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro, will be published by Kokila Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House) in the Spring of 2021. Her second middle grade novel, Miosotis Flores Never Forgets, is also scheduled for publication in 2021, by Tu Books.