by Jackie Azúa Kramer


…is a story about a little girl Estrella and her classmates that explores divided families, homelessness and food insecurity, plus the importance of meaningful connections at school.

In the story, illustrated by Magdalena Mora, a little girl’s father is deported. She wishes people knew how much she misses him and how it affects her at home and school.

I wish you knew…

…I’m a big fan of Ted Talks, like the one with an educator who felt she was making little progress with her students, so she decided to ask them a question. They were to complete this statement on a piece of paper: “I wish my teacher knew…”

She was astonished by their answers. She realized she couldn’t teach kids who felt sad, hungry, scared and angry. It reminded me of my time working as a school counselor in Queens. Creating a community of meaningful classroom relationships based on compassion, respect and kindness needs to be established before students are open to learn.

The heart of Estrella’s story in I WISH YOU KNEW was inspired by my father’s immigrant journey from Ecuador—the emotional cost he paid, and the courage it took, to leave his family and country to come to a new world with the hope of making a better life for himself, just like Estrella’s father.

I wish you knew…

…that young readers can be activists for good. Like Estrella, and her classmates in IWYK, one can be agents of change. Together with kindness, respect and hope one can help to be the change you want to see.

I wish you knew…

…as a writer, I’m interested in stories and characters that reflect our common humanity. Stories which allow readers to interact with it, feel something and ask questions. To write picture books with a more inclusive representation of families in this country. I’m thrilled that there’s a Spanish edition of I WISH YOU KNEW, Ojalá Supieras.

I wish you knew…

…if there’s one concrete craft tip I can share is to apply your five senses when writing. Sight, smell, sound, touch and taste can add much dimension to your writing and leaves room for illustrative narration. We are writing picture books!

In addition, I tend to write in stanzas between 4-6 lines of text. When it comes to editing, nothing beats cutting and pasting your text into stanzas to trim the fat and get to the meat of the story. In addition, like a haiku, one can begin to play with unique and perfect word choices.

I wish you knew…

…This fall I’m looking forward to readers discovering DOROTHY AND HERBERT: ORDINARY PEOPLE AND THEIR EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF ART. It’s my first non-fiction picture book about a librarian and postal clerk who collected modern art in a one-bedroom NY apartment, and then gave it all away to the National Gallery.

And MILES WON’T SMILE—a funny picture book about a little girl who can’t get her new baby brother to smile for her.

I WISH YOU KNEW will be released by Roaring Brook Press on May 25, 2021.

The first 50 people to preorder IWYK from Word Up Community Bookshop will win this giveaway of 11×19 color print and signed bookplate! Visit Word Up Books here.

Jackie is an award-winning and internationally translated children’s author. She earned her MA in Counseling in Education, Queens College. She is a member of the Bank Street Writers Lab. Her picture books include, THE GREEN UMBRELLA, “2017 Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year,” IF YOU WANT TO FALL ASLEEP and her newest THE BOY AND THE GORILLA which received three starred reviews described by Kirkus as “Luminous.”

Her upcoming picture books releasing between 2021-2022 are: I WISH YOU KNEW/OJALÁ SUPIERAS; DOROTHY AND HERBERT: An Ordinary Couple and their Extraordinary Collection of Art; WE ARE ONE; MANOLO AND THE UNICORN and MILES WON’T SMILE.

She lives with her family in Long Island, NY. When not writing, you’ll find her reading, watching old movies and traveling to her family’s roots in Ecuador, Puerto Rico and Spain. Visit her online at, on Twitter @jackiekramer422 and Instagram @jackie_azua_kramer.