Conversation: Sesame Street’s ‘Maria’

Sonia Manzano with ElmoSesame Street celebrates its 40th anniversary Tuesday, and there at nearly the beginning was Sonia Manzano, who was cast as “Maria” in the early ’70s, becoming one of the first Hispanic characters on television. After ten years as in that role, Manzano began writing scripts for the series and has earned 15 Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. I talked to her by phone Tuesday about the early days of the show and about working with and writing for children: