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Nicholasa Mohr

Here there was not a building anywhere, she thought, no traffic and no streets to cross. She became aware of the silence again. The world of the Barrio and the crowds was someplace else far away, and it was all right. Miles and miles away someplace, but she could still be here at the same time; that could really happen. Yes, it's true, she smiled to herself. She felt the letter to her mother still in her pocket.

          — Nilda

Biography - Criticism

Nicholasa Mohr was born in New York, New York, after her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico. Her father died when she was eight years old, leaving her mother with seven children. In order to escape the poverty that surrounded her, Mohr used her fantastic imagination to express her feelings. Her artistic talents helped earn her much praise in school and gave her the confidence, which led to her success as an author.

After graduating from high school in 1953 she went to the Arts Student's League, an art school located in New York. Here she discovered the works of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco which inspired her to study Hispanic art and travel to Mexico City. After a year she returned to the United States and attended the New School for Social Research. Then in 1959 she went to Brooklyn Museum of Art School. Throughout her studies Mohr was drawn to this type of art work because of its powerful message about social change.

Mohr began to express herself using bold letters and symbols in her paintings. She attempted to tell stories through these works. Eventually she switched from painting to short stories. It took a few tries for a publisher to offer her a contract, but when he did, she started writing her first book, Nilda. Many of Mohr's books are about characters growing up in Hispanic neighborhoods in New York City, much like herself.

Today, Mohr has written thirteen books, primarily aimed towards young adults, and has won numerous awards for her writing. She currently resides in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, where she continues to write. Her latest book, Untitled Nicholasa Mohr, was just released in February of 1998 and is available in a local bookstore near you!

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author

Related Links

Balkin Buddies: Nicholasa Mohr
A short biography, as well as information about Mohr's books and appearances.

Neighborhood Link - Latino Author Series
A Q&A with Mohr.

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Contributors

This page was researched and submitted by: Josh Kurcinka, Megan Kral, and Christie Mason on 5/6/98.

NOTE: Artist’s birth year removed at the request of the artist.