1) I’ve visited many Dual Language Schools throughout the United States and the students always ask for the book in Spanish, Now, students can pick up the book in either language of their choice. It’s a way of encouraging their bilingualism or multilingualism, which is beautiful to me because of my own story with mis abuelos.
2) I always receive lovely letters/emails from parents or grandparents who are more comfortable reading in Spanish and they actually thank me for the book being translated to Spanish because they get to read it along with their children/grandchildren. What’s more precious than this?
3) My abuelos were Spanish speakers from Mexico and Texas. Living and raising eight children in Kansas, they faced a lot of discrimination because they were Mexicans and they struggled with speaking English. Due to this, they impressed upon their eight children to only speak English. They feared Spanish would hold their children back in school–we’re talking 1950-1960’s Kansas. My tias and tios have awful memories of how Mexican kids had been treated at school. Punishment for speaking just a little Spanish was having their mouths washed out with a bar of Ivory soap. Mexican girls who only spoke Spanish were pulled out of class and used as babysitters for the younger students instead of being taught math or science.
My abuelos wanted their children to succeed and to be educated. They didn’t want them held back in school or mistreated for not speaking English perfectly. This meant having to choose English over Spanish (and even the indigenous language my abuelo also spoke- he was trilingual). The result of all this was that the entire second generation of my Cervantes family became mostly monolingual, losing all Spanish fluency. None of my tios blame my abuelos for this. They know, just like I do, that my grandparents did what they had to do in that time and place to protect their children.
I have many favorite memories of time spent with mis abuelos, but some of my most cherished memories are the ones from Sunday mornings in their home when they’d blast their beloved records from Chente, Lola or Pedro. They’d sing along word for word. I knew then they had sacrificed something important for us and it was my duty to get it back.
My novel being published in Spanish fills me with hope. To me, it means maybe we’re finally learning and pushing back against a society that favors English-speaking monolingualism instead of valuing and celebrating children growing up bilingual and multilingual. I know my abuelos would be so proud and happy about Frida, el misterio del anillo del pavo real y yo.
See the Spanish worksheets below to accompany the Spanish edition. And if you’d like a limited-edition Spanish poster for your classroom or library, please click here.