Marylin Echeverría Zürcher, better known as Lara Ríos, is a Costa Rican writer who has produced more than thirteen children’s works, which filled with enjoyment the childhood of thousands of Costa Rican children in the 80s and 90s and is currently continuing to be a reference in children’s literature.

Lara Ríos, as she calls herself to go unnoticed, according to her, the burden of her last name was very large, since she is the granddaughter of Aquileo Echeverría, who was a Costa Rican writer, journalist, and politician and is considered one of the most important literary giants of this country. “My grandfather’s last name was too heavy and I didn’t want to have the Echeverría on top because my dad told me since I was a little girl… you are going to have to wait a lot to be Aquileo J. Echeverría’s granddaughter. Therefore, until you write wonderfully well, do not show your writings to anyone. Then, when I sent to the Costa Rica Editorial contest “Tales of my piggy bank” and they rejected it, I gave the reason to my dad’s warning, and from then on, the well-known pseudonym Lara Ríos was born, says the writer.

The storyteller who never thought to be a writer.

“I never thought of being a writer, but I loved telling stories from a very young age,” Lara Ríos told us. Although her literary career was never her objective, this emblematic ethical writer, throughout her career has managed to obtain several awards thanks to her works. Among those that stand out: 1976 Carmen Lyra Award for “Algodon de Azucar” (poetry), Aquileo Echeverría 2002 Prize for “La Música de Paul” (short story), List of Honor (1991) of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) for her book “Mo, sobre una niña  cabécar”.

For this writer who has dedicated her entire life to children’s literature, we find it impossible not to ask her opinion about childhood. To which she comments, “Childhood is a golden age, a happy time, when we learn more and absorb more knowledge.” She also says “Here in Costa Rica, is where most children can be happy … children enjoy themselves very much”. Lara relates that writing for children is a great satisfaction for her “I feel happy to be able to address them and then my books being liked even older people read them and laugh too. So I feel happy because I have reached what I have aimed to, ” the writer says it with pride. 

Times of trial.

This Tica poet for more than twenty years has been suffering from Tourette syndrome, and this has not stopped her to continue writing, although she says “I thought that my illness was going to cause me to stop writing, but it didn’t affect my brain, thank God. I grimace and I don’t care, it’s a disability like all disabilities. For example, I have to be smiling, because when I close my mouth my face can suffer contortions. So, I am smiling all the time. Sometimes I go to the supermarket or down the street with a bare smile and everyone answer me with a big smile. So I have a lot of unknown friends who greet me because a smile returns a smile. “

What does “Pantalones Cortos” mean for Lara Ríos?

“For me “Pantalones Cortos” is my favorite story because it has reached many children, many of whom he did not like to read, and parents have told me that their children have started reading “Pantalones Cortos” and they finish it really quickly ….this makes me very excited, that the book helps to encourage reading among the little ones and that they see that Arturo Pol also pranks like today’s children and seeing those big smiles on their faces as they read it fills me with happiness… I think that the promotion of reading is very important,” Lara Ríos affirms.

Without a doubt, Lara Ríos, through “Pantalones Cortos” like her other works has marked Costa Rican children’s literature, getting into the hearts of several generations. Her we leave you with a list of her most emblematic works so that you can enjoy reading them:

  • Algodón de azúcar, poetry, Editorial Costa Rica, San José, 1976
  • Cuentos de mi alcancía, 1979
  • Pantalones cortos, Editorial Costa Rica, 1982; the first book of the triólogy starting the impetuous little boy Arturo Pol
  • El Rey que deseaba escribir un cuento, 1986
  • Cuentos de Palomas, 1989
  • Verano de colores, 1990; the second book of the triólogy starting the impetuous little boy Arturo Pol
  • Mo, novel, Farben, San José, 1991
  • Pantalones largos, 1993; the third book of the triólogy starting the impetuous little boy Arturo Pol
  • El círculo de Fuego Blanco, Farben, San José, 2000
  • La música de Paul, novel, 2002
  • Aventuras de Dora la Lora y Chico Perico, 2004
  • El eco y el miedo, theater
  • Nuevas Aventuras de Dora la Lora y Chico Perico, 2006
  • Dónde estás, mi Buen Jesús, 2006
  • El país rosado
  • El Duende y el Joboto, short story