In “Coco,” Miguel visits the Land of the Dead to learn his family’s history.


“I feel this entire project is just amazing,” Tucsonan Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford said Tuesday when she learned that Pixar’s “Coco” was nominated for two Academy Awards — best animated feature and best song.

“I am grateful and proud for all of the recognition it is receiving and honored to have been included in the literary portion by Marcela Davison Avilés, who is one of the cultural consultants of the movie,” said Capin Rivera-Ashford, an award-winning bilingual children’s book author who translated the read-along with CD for “Coco” into Spanish.

Capin Rivera-Ashford collaborated on the project with her son, Aarón Rivera-Ashford, of Los Angeles, and they both also worked on her latest book, “Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes,” which is a related adventure book for “Coco.”

“Working with my son was an honor, and our strengths complement each other,” she said. “We were able to bring an educational, historical and cultural flair to “Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes.”

She also wrote the Spanish translation for the “Coco” related adventure book “Miguel and the Grand Harmony”, written by Matt de la Peña.

Capin Rivera-Ashford grew up in Nogales and has lived in Tucson nearly 30 years. She said that living along the U.S.-Mexico border made her “fortunate enough to grow up with the languages, cultures and love of humanity” that the border teaches. She said those teachings are part of what makes “Coco” an amazing film. She said she and Davison Avilés, also a native of Nogales, have the border teachings in common.

“I also want to thank Heather Knowles, a Disney editor of the “Coco” literary project, for being a professional mentor and creative delight to work with,” Capin Rivera-Ashford said.

On top of hearing about the “Coco” nominations for two Academy Awards, Capin Rivera-Ashford said she also learned Tuesday morning that Disney has requested her to work on another “Coco”-related adventure book. “I have to have the first drafts ready by the middle of March,” she said.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar