Juan Felipe Herrera, the son of Mexican migrant farmers, grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in Southern California. As a child, he attended school in a variety of small towns from San Francisco to San Diego. He started school only speaking Spanish. Inspired by his teacher, Mrs. Sampson, Juan went on to not only learn English, but grew to love writing poetry.
Herrera was the keynote speaker at the 2019 Young Minds Dreaming Contest held for the third year in a row at the South Carolina State Library. Juan was selected as the United States Poet Laureate in 2015. He sat down with us to share how his career started and what inspired his love of poetry.