Award Winning Author
Poet & Young Adult Novelist
Travels from: Newark, New Jersey

“The energy. The clarity. The beauty. Elisabet Velasquez brings it all. And takes me home — to Bushwick in the most resonate and evocative of ways. The writing is clear-eyed, moving and funny. Her voice is FIRE!” — Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author

Elisabet Velasquez is a Boricua writer, mother of two children from Brooklyn, New York, now living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Velasquez uses poetry to share her own transformative narrative, illustrating how life’s diverse experiences—especially her experiences, growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn as a first generation Puerto-Rican teen mother and GED recipient have been instrumental in shaping her unique insights and approach to learning and writing. Her compelling story challenges traditional notions of success and emphasizes the profound value embedded in life’s journey.

Her love for sharing personal narratives using poetry led her to spoken word, becoming a member of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe National Slam Team in 2009.

Since then Velasquez has read her work at and collaborated with various venues and institutions including Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, Lincoln Center, Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Harvard University, John Hopkins University, Wesleyan University, Dodge Poetry Festival, Bronx Book Festival, Miami Book Festival, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Palante Radio, Cafe Con Pam Podcast. She has also collaborated with corporations such as Nordstrom, Mailchimp and NBC for Latinx Heritage Month & corporate staff events.

She is a Poets House Fellow, Dodge Poetry Fellow and New Jersey Council for the Arts Fellow.

In 2021 after 12 years of sharing her poems publicly she debuted her young adult novel in verse, When We Make It – an auto-fiction which gained wide recognition including: Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2021 Best Audiobook © AudioFile 2021, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Indies Introduce and Next List selection, Kirkus Reviews Best Books, School Library Journal Best Books, Chicago Public Library Best Teen Fiction, Américas Award Commended Title, ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project selection, In the Margins Book Award Top Ten selection, NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books, The News & Observer Best Books for Kids, Gotham Book Prize finalist and was a 2021 Goodreads Readers Choice Nominee. The New York Times named it a Young Adult Book to Watch For.

When she is not writing she is busy living the life she wants to write about.

Elisabet's Featured Titles

When We Make It: A Nuyorican Novel

Dial Books |
Young Adult

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican question asker who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister, Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has long been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it. To those who feel their emotions before they can name them. To those who still may not have all the language but they have their story. Velasquez’ debut novel is sure to leave an indelible mark on all who read it.


When We Make It - Middle School, High School

What does it mean to make it? In this engaging session, Elisabet invites young people to reflect on what they have been told about who they need to be in order to be successful.

Through candid reflections on her journey to writing her debut novel, Elisabet shares her unique path to success, challenging conventional definitions of success and embracing the power of the personal narrative.
This talk is an invitation for young minds to explore their own narratives of success, using the art of storytelling as a tool for self-discovery. Students will discover how writing can become a compass, helping to guide us through challenges and shaping our understanding of what it truly means to ‘make it.’

This talk is an invitation for young minds to explore their own narratives of success, using the art of storytelling, both traditional and auto-fiction, as tools for self-discovery. By delving into the transformative nature of writing, attendees will gain insights into how they too can navigate their journey and define success on their own terms.


Poetry & Performance - A Spoken Word Workshop - Middle School, High School

This workshop is an immersive experience that invites participants to explore the dynamic intersection of poetry and performance.

Discover the power of words as you learn how to breathe life into your poetry on stage, engage and captivate your audience and embrace the spotlight as a means of powerful self-expression.

From body language to the rhythm of your delivery, this session provides practical tools to enhance your spoken word performance skills.

Through a series of interactive games, exercises and engaging prompts, young people will experiment with language, rhythm and the emotive impact of their narratives.


Exploring identity Through Poetry : Educators

This session delves into the symbiotic relationship between identity and poetic expression. Educators will gain insights into the transformative potential of incorporating diverse voices, narratives, and cultural perspectives into the classroom, fostering a more inclusive and enriching learning environments.

Educator Guide Link

Elisabet’s Media Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
Indies Introduce and Next List selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Books
School Library Journal Best Books
Chicago Public Library Best Teen Fiction
Américas Award Commended Title
ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project selection
In the Margins Book Award Top Ten selection
NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books
The News & Observer Best Books for Kids
Gotham Book Prize finalist
2021 Goodreads Readers Choice Nominee
2021 Young Adult Book To Watch For, The New York Times

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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