Great Ladies of Caribbean Children's Literature: Dr. Margarita Luciano López

The essay below is a part of our 'Great Ladies of Caribbean Children's Literature' series. During Women's History Month, and in celebration of Anansesem's 10th anniversary, we're publishing essays by or about 10 female trailblazers whose labors, writings, editorial work and foundational research created the growing field of Caribbean children's and young adult literature.


I was born in San José de las Matas, Santiago province, in the northern part of the Dominican Republic. I come from a family of eight siblings: five brothers and three sisters. During my childhood my parents and teachers fostered in me a love of reading and writing. Thus began my love of literature and my first experiments in writing poetry and then stories.

I completed my primary school education and part of my secondary school studies in my hometown. When I was a teenager, my family moved to Santo Domingo, the capital city. There, I finished high school and began my university career at La Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD). I double majored in education with a concentration in mathematics and education with a concentration in modern languages (Spanish, English and French). Subsequently, I completed a master’s degree in higher education at La Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and a doctorate in pedagogical sciences at La Universidad Enrique José Varona de La Haban. For my dissertation, I conducted research on strategies for using children’s literature with primary school children within the context of their reading, cognitive and emotional development. I was then awarded a scholarship by the Organization of American States to travel to Venezuela where I completed a postgraduate degree in preparation of printed educational material for basic education.

I began teaching while studying at the university. Over the years, I have taught at all levels: pre-k, primary, secondary and tertiary. I also worked at the Ministry of Education in the Dominican Republic and directed two private educational institutions on the island: Mi Colegio and Centro Educativo Creciendo. I taught a course on children's literature at the Inter-American University for students pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education. I have enjoyed mentoring students at different universities around the island and have served as an advisor to those conducting research related to children's literature.

Books written by Dr. Margarita Luciano López

I have written and published books in the areas of mathematics, didactics, and children's and youth literature. My first children’s book El día en que llevaron la electricidad al paraje de la ciénaga (1988) was illustrated by Miguel Sánchez Tió and published by RADECO under the direction of Altagracia Díaz de de Jesús. My other picture storybooks include Senderos de paz: Cuentos para niños (Centro Caribeño de Investigación y Capacitación (CICAP), 1997), El día en que dos ciudades contrarias descubrieron que eran hermanas (Ediciones Unión, 1999) which debuted at the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo as part of the Domincan-Cuban edition of the Dienteleche collection, Quién se robó el verde (Trinitaria, 2000) which won the 1998/1999 National Aurora Tavárez Belliard Prize for Children's and Youth Literature, El carrito trepador (Editorial Santillana, 2001) illustrated by Kilia Llano, and De islas, mares y leyendas (Editora Unión de La Habana), co-written with Eleanor Grimaldi Silié. My novels for young readers include De escuela, tesoros y amigos (Opus, 2014), Por los caminos del monte (Editorial Santuario, 2011) and El patio encantado (Alfaguara, 2014).

Dr. Margarita Luciano López with her brothers, Joaquín Luciano and Johnny Luciano, at the launch of her children's novel, De escuela, tesoros y amigos, Carlos Guillot Building, Dominican Republic, 2014

I have also published poetry books for children including De Ronda por mi país: Poesía para niños (Centro Caribeño de Investigación y Capacitación (CICAP), 1997), Corazón de mermelada (Ediciones CP, 2015) illustrated by Víctor Manuel, and Arroz con mango (Centro Caribeño de Investigación y Capacitación (CICAP), 1996). Additionally, Eleanor Grimaldi Silié and I co-authored Literatura Infantil y Desarrollo Creativo (Editorial Grialibros, 1998; Gráfica Javier, 2007), a book on theory and practice for teaching children’s literature.

When I first started out, I had much to learn about writing, editing, and the children’s/YA book market. In working with different publishers over the years, I learned openness of thought, and different ways of structuring a book; I also learned a lot about young readers’ tastes.


Locally and internationally, I have delivered numerous workshops and presentations on the topic of children’s and youth literature at various venues and events including at the congresses organized by Action for Basic Education (EDUCA), the Children's and Youth Library of the Dominican Republic, and the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo. I have enjoyed visits with children and young people from different primary and secondary schools, and have served on juries for various school writing competitions, as well as on the judging panel for the National Aurora Tavárez Belliard Prize for Children's and Youth Literature. For about two years, I wrote a series of articles on children's and youth literature in the “Isla Abierta” supplement of the Hoy newspaper and the “Biblioteca” supplement of the Listín Diario newspaper. I have been a member of two local writing communities: the "Pedro Henríquez Ureña" children’s and youth literature group and the Circle of Writers for Children and Young People.

Over the years, I have been honored to have my work in the field of youth literature recognized by the various institutions in which I have worked, by the Junior Chamber International, and most importantly, by the outstanding young people of the Dominican Republic. I am currently finalizing my fourth children’s novel and a scholarly text on how to teach children's and YA literature.

Dr. Margarita Luciano López being honored with a street named after her at the XIV International Book Fair of Santo Domingo in 2011. From left: General Director of the Book Fair, Alejandro Arvelo; Dr. Margarita Luciano López; Minister of Culture, José Rafael Lantigua; and the Vice Minister of Culture, Bernarda Jorge

I consider San José de las Matas (Sajoma), where I have lived all my life, a paradise full of beautiful landscapes and people; the nature of my hometown, my family and friends have been, and continue to be, the chief inspirations for my writing.

About the Author

Dr. Margarita Luciano López is the author of over ten books for children and youth. Born and based in the Dominican Republic, she is also an educator, textbook author and the current director of the Centro Educativo Creciendo y del Centro Caribeño de Investigación y Capacitación (CICAP). In 2011, the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo recognized her longstanding contributions to Dominican children's and youth literature by designating one of the streets of the Fair with her name. She is married to Rafael Sang, is the mother of Guillermo and Rafael Enrique Sang Luciano, and the grandmother of Isaac Enrique Sang Vallejo.

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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