F. Isabel Campoy
“I cannot remember a time in my life in which I wasn’t part of the world of children’s literature. As soon as I learned to read I became the person that teachers chose to read out loud to the rest of the class while they did art, or sewing.”
Isabel Campoy was born in Alicante, Spain, when dictator Generalísimo Franco had total control of every aspect of life. To escape from such an oppressive atmosphere she applied for and won a highly competitive American Field Service Scholarship. This granted her the opportunity to live in the United States and study at Trenton High School in Michigan. That experience changed her life forever. Although she arrived to the States with a fair knowledge of the English language (her father was an English professor and patiently requested his four children to speak English at home), the culture she encountered in the States required a profound adaptation and a deep understanding of self and others, here and back home. Soon she had a world of her own that she learned to translate in order to be part of two worlds.
Translating became a way to supplement her income while studying at the university in Valencia and Madrid. Every penny was always spent in travels. Interested in understanding other people’s ways of life led her to visit every corner of Spain, a country the size of Texas, has four official languages and one of the richest and most varied cultural traditions in Europe. She traveled taking pictures, and taking notes for an encyclopedia of Spain that is still a work in progress 40 years later.
From Spain she extended her trips to the nearby countries, of Portugal, France, Italy and Morocco, and then the rest of the world.
She is still traveling. And she is still writing. Her books for young readers include, Rosa Raposa, The Quetzal’s Journey, and Gateways to the Sun / Puertas al Sol, a collection of 35 books for children about different aspects of the Hispanic culture.