Claribel A.
Bestselling Middle Grade Novelist
New York Times Bestselling Author
Travels from: White Plains, New York

“Sharply insightful about the epidemic of hate against minority groups, Ortega invites readers to ponder the true definition of monstrosity as she puts her beloved trio through more challenges in this fast-paced and emotionally charged adventure. Cheeky and moving by turns; an adventure for a new generation.” — Kirkus Reviews

New York Times Bestselling and award-winning author, Claribel A. Ortega is a former reporter who writes middle-grade and young adult fantasy inspired by her Dominican heritage. When she’s not busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic, and video games into books, she’s co-hosting her podcast Bad Author Book Club. Claribel is a Marvel contributor and has been featured on Buzzfeed, Bustle, Good Morning America and Deadline.

Claribel’s NYT Bestselling debut middle grade novel Ghost Squad is being made into a feature film. Her latest book Witchlings (Scholastic) was an Instant NYT and #1 Indie Bestseller. Her graphic novel Frizzy with Rose Bousamra was winner of the 2023 Pura Belpré Award for Children’s Text and an Indie Bestseller.

Claribel A.'s Featured Titles

The Golden Frog Games (Witchlings 2)

Scholastic Press |
Middle Grade Fantasy

An instant New York Times and Indie bestseller!

Get ready for more magic, mayhem, and monstruos in this magical sequel to Witchlings from Claribel A. Ortega, author of Ghost Squad and Frizzy.

Every four years, the Twelve Towns gather for a legendary magical tournament–the Golden Frog Games.

With Ravenskill hosting this year’s games, all eyes are on Seven Salazar, Valley Pepperhorn and Thorn Laroux: the most famous Spares in the Twelve Towns. Thorn is ready to compete as a fashion champion, but when a forbidden hex is used to turn her fellow champions to stone, suspicion lands on the Witchlings.

As the Witchlings attempt to unravel the mystery of the stonifications, future Uncle Seven is harboring a dangerous secret: While she’s supposed to be able to communicate with animals, the voices she hears most clearly belong to monstruos, and one spine-chilling voice is the loudest of all.

Can Seven fix her broken magic and find out who is stonifying the champions . . . before Thorn becomes the next victim?


Scholastic Inc. |
Middle Grade Fantasy

Friendship is the most powerful magic of all.

An instant New York Times bestseller from the Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Frizzy! Disney’s The Owl House meets Nevermoor in a brilliant and magical adventure from Claribel A. Ortega!

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings―and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…

With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega’s signature humor, and girl-power vibes, you won’t be able to put down this middle-grade Latine witch story, perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers or Harry Potter.


First Second |

Winner of the 2023 Pura Belpré Award for Children’s Text
October 2022 Indie Bestseller

New York Times-bestselling author Claribel A. Ortega and star debut artist Rose Bousamra’s Frizzy is about Marlene, a young Dominican girl whose greatest enemy is the hair salon! Through her struggles and triumphs, this heartwarming and gorgeous middle-grade graphic novel shows the radical power of accepting yourself as you are, frizzy curls and all.

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”.

But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby―she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

Ghost Squad

Scholastic Inc |
Children’s/Middle Grade Fantasy

A New York Times bestseller!

Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy adventure!

For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.

Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.


How it's Made: Graphic Novels

I go through the steps, with visuals examples, of how I wrote and Rose Bousamra illustrated, Frizzy. I include tools used, timelines and how text transforms to art to make a graphic novel.


Reading, and writing, through your fears 

I go through my journey of growing up in the South Bronx, and surviving various fears and hardships to become a bestselling author. I talk about how the grief of losing my older brother pushed me to become an author and how grief specifically shaped my writing career. I teach kids how they can use their own fears and insecurities to fuel their art.


Witchlings: The Witches, Monstruos, and creatures of The Twelve Towns

I walk through the process of creating Witchlings characters and monsters. I include discussions on how my favorite movies, video games and songs inspired the series. This presentation can include a monster/character creation component at the end if time allows.


Love Yourself: A Talk About Frizzy

In this talk I tackle the world of beauty standards, self esteem and how media influences what we perceive to be beautiful through the lens of the graphic novel Frizzy.

Resources for Educators & Teachers Link

Claribel’s Quiz Link

Claribel’s Events Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Pura Belpré Award for Children’s Text, 2023
Eisner for Best Publication for Kids, 2023
Pura Belpre Author Award winner, 2023
Eisner Award Winner, 2023
Witchlings and The Golden Frog Games – Instant New York Times Bestseller
Frizzy – Indie Bestseller
BookPage Starred Review
Kids’ Indie Next List
Horn Book Starred Review
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Kirkus Starred Review
SLJ Starred Review
A Barnes & Noble Bookseller Favorite
JLG Gold Standard Selection
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Best Books of the Year, 2022
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, 2022
NYPL Best Books of the Year, 2022
Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2022

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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