In this post, we feature debut author Sandra Nickel. You can hear her speak about the inspiration for her first picture book Nacho’s Nachos and try her fun “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
- Written by Sandra Nickel and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez
- Published by Lee & Low Books
- Release date: August 11, 2020
As a child, Ignacio Anaya loved to eat and cook, and like many Ignacios in Mexico, he was nicknamed Nacho. When he grew up, he became the head waiter at a popular restaurant in Piedras Negras, across the Rio Grande river from Eagle Pass, Texas. One afternoon in 1940, some regular customers requested something new. Nacho improvised with what was on hand: corn tortillas, cheddar cheese, and jalapeño peppers. Nacho’s Special, the dish that later became known simply as “nachos,” was born! This joyful, inspiring picture book introduces a historical, Mexican “celebrity chef” and invites young readers to consider the fascinating stories, and the creative minds, behind their favorite snacks.
Listen to Sandra Nickel talking with TeachingBooks about creating Nacho’s Nachos. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.
- Listen to Sandra Nickel talk about her name.
- Explore TeachingBooks’ collection of activities and resources for Nacho’s Nachos.
Invitation to Imagine
TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Sandra Nickel.
Imagination Activity with Sandra Nickel
The birthplace of nachos—Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico—holds a three-day Nacho Fest every year around October 21st, the International Day of the Nacho. The Fest holds a competition to see who can invent a new and delicious nacho. There is only one requirement. As with Ignacio Anaya’s original nachos, the new nacho must use a corn tortilla. Other than that, imagination is the only limit! Thinking about what you love to eat most, what new nacho can you create?
Now that you’ve dreamed up a new nacho, show what it looks like by drawing it. Or, if you have the time and ingredients, and a parent to help out, why not try making it?
Finish This Sentence . . . with Sandra Nickel
As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Sandra Nickel’s response.
“While working on this latest project, I was surprised to discover…”
While working on this latest project, I was surprised to discover that the original nachos were different from the piles of tortilla chips we now see all loaded up with toppings. Ignacio Anaya’s original creation was pure and simple: a freshly fried tortilla quarter, with melted cheddar cheese and a single strip of pickled jalapeño pepper. It really is perfection!
“I hope my book encourages kids to think about …”
I hope my book encourages kids to think about everyday heroes. Nacho’s story is such a great tale of an unsung inventor. It’s a reminder that not all heroes are Nobel Prize winners or fantastically courageous people. Some heroes are ordinary people, going about their everyday lives. They have a flash of inspiration, and just like that, create something that spreads like wildfire and is loved by people everywhere.
To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Sandra Nickel for signing a book for all of us!
More Connections to Sandra Nickel and Nacho’s Nachos
- Discover books like Nacho’s Nachos on TeachingBooks.
- Lee & Low’s page on Nacho’s Nachos, written by Sandra Nickel and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez.
- Sandra Nickel on Twitter.
Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!
Text and images are courtesy of Sandra Nickel, Oliver Dominguez, and Lee & Low Books and may not be used without expressed written consent.