"Maria" on Sesame Street & Author
Sonia Manzano is a first-generation American of Latino descent who has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she was offered an opportunity to play “Maria” on Sesame Street. Manzano was raised in the South Bronx where her involvement in the arts was inspired by teachers who encouraged…
Sonia Manzano is a first-generation American of Latino descent who has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she was offered an opportunity to play “Maria” on Sesame Street.
Manzano was raised in the South Bronx where her involvement in the arts was inspired by teachers who encouraged her to audition for the High School of Performing Arts. She was accepted there and began her career as an actress. A scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show Godspell. Within a year, Manzano joined the production of Sesame Street, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series. She was thrilled to help write the story line for “Maria’s” marriage and birth of “Maria’s” baby, played for a while by Manzano’s real-life daughter Gabriela.
Manzano has performed on the New York stage in the critically acclaimed theater pieces The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated and Love Loss and What I Wore.
Movies include Deathwish, Follow That Bird and Elmo in Grouchland.
She is an advisor for literary NY institution Symphony Space and is often a reader for Selected Shorts. She regularly reads for their adult literacy program All-Write.
Guest appearances include The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dinner Impossible (2009). Interviewed on NBC Nightly News for Sesame Street’s 40 Anniversary. Interviewed by Jeffrey Brown for PBS Newshour website in connection with Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary. Manzano was hired as a spokesperson for Cohn & Wolfe for their child vaccination campaign in 2008.
She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series, Little Bill, and has written a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called Talking Out Loud. Her children’s book, No Dogs Allowed! published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in 2004. In 2005 General Mills selected No Dogs Allowed! for their Spoonfuls of Stories series. Over one million copies of No Dogs Allowed! were given away in cereal boxes courtesy of General Mills.
Manzano contributed poem Chessybreadville to Marlo Thomas and Friends, Thanks and Giving book and CD.
No Dogs Allowed! has been turned into a children’s musical, with a productions at the Actor’s Playhouse, in Coral Gables, Florida and the Atlantic Theater in New York. Productions included Ridgefield Theater Barn and Theaterworks at the Milford Playhouse, both in CT. Theatrical Rights Worldwide has licensed No Dogs Allowed! Her second book, A Box Full Of Kittens, was published in 2007.
Her first young adult novel entitled The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic was a Pura Belpre Honor. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, is a memoir published by Scholastic, 8/25/2015. Miracle on 133rd Street is a picture book published by Simon and Schuster, 9/25/2015.
Donated her services to the Bronx Children’s Museum by writing picture book, The Lowdown on the Highbridge. Sale of the book proceeds will go to the operations and efforts of an actual museum for the children of the Bronx. Volunteers for the Bronx River Alliance.
She enjoys traveling the country giving comedic speeches with substance.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Latinos & The Civil Rights Movement
In this presentation based on her new book, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, speaker Sonia Manzano explores the impact that the Civil Rights Movement had on the Hispanic community. She examines how growing feelings of self worth in both the African American and Latino communities gave rise to social programs like Head Start and the United Farm Workers, as well as educational TV programs like Sesame Street. Manzano gives her personal take on how the whole movement made Latinos examine racial prejudices in their own groups and sadly, in their own families.
From the South Bronx to Sesame Street (A Puerto Rican Story)
In this presentation based on her new book, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, speaker Sonia A personal tale of the struggles Manzano faced coming from a poor Puerto Rican family to eventually becoming one of the most influential Latinas in television. Based on her memoir, this poignant and inspirational story is told with Manzano’s signature humor and wit, making this a memorable presentation for parents and children alike.
Writing For Children
A television writer as well as a children’s and young adult’s book writer, Manzano faced many challenges writing across all mediums. From writing for Sesame Street and Pulitzer Prize winning show Little Bill to writing the books No Dogs Allowed, a Box Full of Kittens, and the inspirational The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, Manzano shares her experience and insight on how to inspire and excite children through the written word.
Children and Television
Manzano’s over forty years on Sesame Street has afforded her a unique look at how the landscape of children’s television has changed. She will share thoughts from the way children are taught cognitive skills, to the way Latinos are depicted, to how 9/11 has affected children’s educational curriculum on Sesame Street. This informative presentation gives audiences a rare opportunity to learn from one of the most knowledgeable people in children’s television.
Building Resilient Children the Sesame Street Way
1,2 3, Who Let Latinos on TV
From the South Bronx to Sesame Street
Would Elmo Make a Good Board Member?
Can Muppets Read?
Coping with Alzheimers
Sonia Manzano’s journey from the Bronx to “Sesame Street”
1 HOUR OR LESS