Patty Cisneros Prevo (she/her/ella) is a proud disabled Latina and picture book writer. In 2015, as a parent and 4th grade teacher, she saw a huge gap in children’s literature when it came to diversity. There were few characters of color in the pictures books she read to her children and her Black and Brown students. And there were even fewer disabled characters. With her connections to the disabled community and adaptive sports, she decided to bring those disabled characters to the forefront. In 2019, Patty received the Lee & Low Books New Voices Award Honor for Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes. Tenacious highlights 15 disabled individuals and their major life and athletic accomplishments.
Patty Cisneros Prevo is represented by Ana Crespo with East West Literary Agency.
Photo credit- Wild Root Photography
As a life-long learner and advocate, Patty has always centered her work around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and social justice. Professionally, she got her start with Wisconsin Athletics as the Assistant Director of Inclusion & Engagement, where she assisted in the development and execution of their DEI Strategic Plan. In her role as the Student Life Manager of Diversity & Inclusion for the Wisconsin School of Business, Cisneros Prevo led all DEI initiatives in the Undergraduate Program. And now in her new role as UW-Health’s Program Manager of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, she leads DEI efforts and serves as the DEI business partner to the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Medicine and the Carbone Cancer Center.
As a disabled athlete, Patty states that she engaged and perpetuated ableist language and culture. The activist Talila “TL” Lewis defines ableism as “a system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness.” Simply put, ableism is a system of oppression that discriminates or is prejudiced against disabled people. One of the most common and harmful tropes of ableist culture is the “supercrip” trope. Disabled people are portrayed as somehow “overcoming” or “fixing” their disability through some superhuman effort or other ability, and not because they are driven, passionate, and tenacious people. Patty is constantly challenged to recognize her own internalized ableism and learn how to become a better disability advocate.
Patty discovered the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) and was introduced to the sport of wheelchair basketball in the fall of 1998. She went on to play with multiple teams, including Team USA for 10 years. During her U.S. tenure, she competed at three Paralympic Games, won back-to-back gold medals, and captained the 2008 Paralympic gold medal team. Patty also won five NWBA Championships, including two as head coach. Patty became the first female head coach of a collegiate wheelchair basketball team with the University of Illinois, winning the national championship that same year.
Photo credit: Tillie Vuksich Photography
Family is Patty's #1 core value. She is the 4th of 10 children of Maria and Jesus Cisneros. Her large Mexican, Catholic family has always been her foundational support.
Now, Patty has her own little family. She has been married to partner Tony for 11 years and counting! Together, they have two wonderful kids- Elliana (11) and Elliot (8)- and a rambunctious pup named Canela (4). The Cisneros Prevo family can be found eating at the local Olive Garden, enjoying a good drag show, or just lounging at home playing games and watching movies.