Juana Neira Malo

Juana Neira Malo (Cuenca, May 29, 1963) is an Ecuadorian author of children’s literature. In 2008 she published her first book, “Mi amiga secreta.” In 2009, her second book “Se necesita a un súper héroe,” won the “Darío Guevara Mayorga” Prize. She was president of Girándula, the Ecuadorian Book Association for Children and Young People, a branch of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) in Ecuador. She produced and hosted a literary radio program, Sueños de papel, from 2006 to 2018. The program contributed to the country’s culture by highlighting several contemporary Ecuadorian authors and focusing on children’s and youth literature. In August of 2020 it was announced that she was the new director of the “José de la Cuadra” National Plan for the Promotion of Books and Reading.

Early Life and Education

Born in Cuenca, Ecuador, on May 29, 1963, Juana Neira Malo is a renowned Ecuadorian children’s book author. Her early education took place in the cities of Cuenca and Quito. Neira pursued higher education in the field of philosophy and letters at the Universidad Estatal de Cuenca. She further enriched her academic journey with two semesters in anthropology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. Her thirst for knowledge also led her to participate in open courses in Literature and Letters at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar and to engage in radio production workshops.

Personal Life

In her personal life, Neira is a mother of three – Martín, Sebastián, and Sofi. Her interests extend beyond writing; she is an avid collector of violets and masks and has a fascination with cats. Despite her creative spirit, she admits to having fears of speed and bats.


Juana Neira made her mark in 2008 with the publication of her first book, “Mi amiga secreta.” The following year, her book “Se necesita a un super héroe” won the Darío Guevara Mayorga prize. Neira is also known for her contributions to the Ecuadorian radio landscape as the producer and host of the literary radio program “Sueños de papel” on Radio Visión. This program fostered a connection with daily life through literature, covering topics from family to public spaces, and offered an immersive literary experience in poetry, stories, and novels. Notably, Neira expressed particular satisfaction in reaching visually impaired listeners. She hosted this show from 2006 to 2018, promoting Ecuadorian literature and encouraging reading among the populace.

Literary Contributions and Achievements

As president of the Asociación Ecuatoriana del Libro Infantil y Juvenil, an affiliate of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Ecuador, Neira played a crucial role in promoting children’s literature. She actively participated in literary events such as the II Feria Nacional del Libro y la Lectura de Cuenca, leading workshops and collaborating with fellow academics. Neira also contributed significantly to the organization of the Maratones del Cuento in Quito, an event showcasing emerging literary talents for children.

Writing Style and Themes

Neira’s writing process, as she described in an interview, is based on anecdotes to which she adds unique characters and literary elements. Her characters often embody her fears, unanswered questions, and varied life experiences, though they do not directly reflect autobiographical or personal themes. Instead, they are born from observed experiences, whether her own or those of children around her.

Published Works

  • Mi amiga secreta (2008)
  • Se necesita un súper héroe(2009)
  • La nube # 4 (2010)
  • Mara (2011)
  • Romeo (2012)
  • Eras un pedazo de luna ( 2014)

Synopsis of Notable Works

  • “Mi amiga secreta” (2008): A story about the invisible friends who are part of every child’s life, sharing secrets and adventures.
  • “Se necesita un superhéroe” (2009): This book addresses childhood fears and the quest for a hero in the face of adversity.
  • “La nube # 4” (2010): A tale of three siblings facing their mother’s illness and the absence of their father.
  • “Mara” (2011): Follows a young girl living with her grandmother, exploring magical adventures in the forest.
  • “Romeo” (2012): The story of a frog turned prince, seeking to return to his original life.
  • “Eras un pedazo de luna” (2014): Centers on a young girl’s quest to understand her origins and identity.

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