As a children’s author who conducts school visits all across the country, I’ve met some amazing ESOL (English for Students of Other Languages) teachers who ask me if my children’s books are available in Spanish. I’m happy that I can answer YES! There are many reasons having my books translated to Spanish is important to me. Here are three main reasons:
1. Being bilingual or multilingual is a super power!
First, I believe that providing Spanish and English books in the classroom is a great way to connect Latinx students’ culture to their studies. Encouraging students to read in whatever language they choose creates trust and promotes future reading.
2. Families Will Read Together
Through the years, I’ve received some lovely letters and emails from parents or grandparents who thank me for my books being available in Spanish because it means they can read it along with their children or grandchildren. What’s more precious than families reading together?
3. Language is culture and family
My grandparents were Spanish speakers from Mexico and Texas. In Kansas, they faced discrimination because they were Mexicans and they struggled with speaking English. Due to this, they impressed upon their eight children to only speak English only.
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. At this time, punishment at their school for speaking even a little Spanish was having their mouth washed out with a bar of Ivory soap. Augh!
My abuelos were forced to make a choice. The result was that the entire second generation of my Cervantes family became mostly monolingual, losing all Spanish fluency. I don’t blame my abuelos. They did what they had to do in that time and space to protect their children.
My most cherished memories with my abuelos are from Sunday mornings spent in their home. They’d play Chente Fernández, Lola Beltrán and Pedro Infante records. They’d sing along. Spanish words of love or betrayal sliding from their lips. I loved watching them sing and I cherished those Spanish songs and Sunday mornings.
Now that my novels like Lety Out Loud and Me, Frida and The Secret of the Peacock Ring have been translated to Spanish, I hope more children will have the chance to practice Spanish, and read them with their parents or grandparents. I hope it means that we’ve become a society that values and celebrates children growing up multilingual.
I know my abuelos would be so proud and happy about Frida, el misterio del anillo del pavo real y yo and Lety Alza Su Voz.
Learn more about Me, Frida and The Secret of the Peacock Ring.
Angela Cervantes says
Thank you for your comment! Happy reading!