Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Claudia Guadalupe Martinez  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1978

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Illinois Connection

Martinez has lived in Chicago since 2002.

Biographical and Professional Information

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez grew up in El Paso, Texas where she learned that letters form words from reading the subtitles of old westerns for her father. She now lives in Chicago where she works for a non-profit whose mission it is to improve the educational experiences of public school children.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Pig Park
ISBN: 1935955772

Cinco Puntos Press. 2014

It's crazy! Fifteen-year-old Masi Burciaga hauls bricks to help build a giant pyramid in her neighborhood park. Her neighborhood is becoming more of a ghost town each day since the lard company moved away. Even her school closed down. Her family's bakery and the other surviving businesses may soon follow. As a last resort, the neighborhood grown-ups enlist all the remaining able-bodied boys and girls into this scheme in hopes of luring visitors. Maybe their neighbors will come back too. But something's not right about the entrepreneur behind it all. And then there's the new boy who came to help. The one with the softest of lips. Pig Park is a contemporary Faustian tale that forces us to look at the desperate lengths people will go to in the name of community--and maybe love.
Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, author of the award-winning The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, has long been distressed about how the global economy is displacing workers and families. Claudia grew up in El Paso, Texas. She and her family now live in Chicago, Illinois.

The Smell of Old Lady Perfume
ISBN: 1933693185

Cinco Puntos Press. 2008

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez’s debut novel for young adults is a bittersweet story about death, family, and the resilient emotional strength of the human heart. Chela Gonzalez, the book’s narrator, is a nerd and a soccer player who can barely contain her excitement about starting the sixth grade. But nothing is as she imagined—her best friend turns on her to join the popular girls and they all act like Chela doesn’t exist. She buries herself in schoolwork and in the warm comfort of her family. To Chela, her family is like a solar system, with her father the sun and her mother, brothers, and sister like planets rotating all around him. It’s a small world, but it’s the only one she fits in.

But that universe is threatened when her strong father has a stroke. Chela’s grandmother moves in to help the family. The smell of her old lady perfume invades the house. That smell is worse than Sundays. Sundays were sad, but they went just as sure as they came. Death was a whole other thing, and Chela doesn’t understand that’s what everyone is waiting for. In her grief and worry, Chela begins to discover herself and find her own strength.

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas. She learned that letters form words from reading the subtitles of old Westerns for her father. She went on to graduate from college and moved to Chicago to become one of the city’s youngest nonprofit executives.


'''''The Smell of Old Lady Perfume'''''

Summer Must Read List, Hispanic Magazine, 2008

Best Middle Grade Book of the Year, Latinidad’s, 2008

Best of the Best List, Chicago Public Library, 2008

Southwest Books of the Year List, Pima County Library, 2008

ALAN’s Picks List, 2008

Best Young Adult Book Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 2008

Winner, Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, 2009

Américas Award Commended Title, 2009

YA Top Forty List, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2009

Teaching Tolerance List, Southern Poverty Law Center, 2009

Recommended Reading List, Florida Department of Education, 2009-15

Battle of the Books Official Title, Chicago Public Schools, 2010'''''Pig Park'''''

Battle of the Books Official Title List (Grade 7-8), Chicago Public Schools, 2014

ALAN’s Picks List, 2014

Young Adult Book Award, Texas Institute of Letters Best, 2015

Best YA Fiction Award, NAACS Tejas Foco, 2015

Books for Kids Interested in Engineering List, Chicago Public Library, 2015

Recommended HS Reading List, Chicago Public Schools, 2015

Recommended Summer Reading List, We’re the People

Starred Review, VOYA magazine

ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017

Availability for Public Speaking

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Please contact Martinez directly.

She is represented by Adriana Dominguez of [ Full Circle Literary].