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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Children's Literature

Directing Professor

Hillary Homzie


Tico’s Tale: Pura Vida is a young middle-grade story set in Texas about a fifth grade boy, Elijah, that enters a seemingly terrifying situation. He is Costa Rican, and his best friend is a little parakeet that he spends most of his time with. After running into one of Central America’s most famous myths, el cadejo, a giant black dog with goat legs and chains around its neck, Elijah struggles to understand himself and his new companion. He has two moms who try their best as parents to understand his situation, but he keeps pushing them away despite their constant concerns. Elijah does meet another boy in his class from El Salvador that has a white cadejo, who he befriends and shares some trouble with.

This story reflects my critical thesis on representing my Costa Rican culture. There are so many unique foods, stories, and dialect that have yet to be shared in contemporary children’s literature. Therefore, my intentions were to capture Costa Rican culture and folklore through a heartfelt story of a boy who simply goes through his own journey to find a friend. The mythology presented is based on research and personal accounts from my family members. I have also intertwined the concept of Costa Rica’s Pura Vida into my main character’s fate, in order to provide an authentic Costa Rican experience. My creative thesis allows me to explore and illustrate Costa Rican culture in an appropriate and timeless manner.

Contact Information

Purpose Statement

The purpose of preserving this thesis document is to provide a definitive record of student progress upon completion of the degree. This text will not reflect any revisions to the manuscript made after degree completion. For the most current version of the work, please contact its author.