odilia rivera was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. For the first six years of her life, she lived in a small town called Puerto Nuevo. When she was six, her family moved to the Bronx. The transition from P.R. to the Bronx was one that took many years. Her mother took her to the library every weekend, so her education owes a great deal to the New York City Public Library system. Her mother also had subtle ways to emphasize where Rivera's loyalties should lie. At least once a day, she would yell, “Remember you are Puerto Rican, not American!” Her mother's sage words kept her afloat in situations where others floundered; her ethnic and racial identity has been like a second mother.