Welcome to “Author Spotlight” series! I want to introduce you to authors in the Spanish language space I think you NEED to know. I’m setting this up Q&A-style so that you can learn more about each author’s purpose, the books that they’re most proud of, and the resources they have to support you in your classroom. I hope you enjoy these wonderful people. I know you’re going to love the stories they have to share!
WHY DID YOU START WRITING?
I started writing and telling stories in class as a way to connect with my students. We all like stories. That’s why we watch movies, soap operas, and read different types of literature. Students are always curious to learn more about the life of teachers. My students love to hear stories about my childhood. “Let me tell you a crazy and painful story that happened to me when I was your age.” With that simple start, I will have the majority of them hooked. Students love stories, and if the story is compelling, it will be effective.
WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE AND MISSION IN WRITING YOUR BOOKS?
My mission is to spread the love for my language and culture and to do it in a way that is easy for all students. Most of the books I write are illustrated novels. I try to include over 200 illustrations in each book. Illustrations are a very important part of my books. When 4 year olds start reading in their native language, they will have a better understanding of the text if it is accompanied by illustrations. In the case of second language learners, the experience is not that different. They are also learning to read in the new language. Many of the difficulties that 4 and 5-year-olds encounter when starting to read in their native language are also shared by second language learners when introduced to reading a new language.
In our language classes, we talk about the importance of visual aids, gestures, pointing and tones of voice to make the language more understandable for students. Well, the illustrations are there for that same purpose: To make the language more comprehensible. The illustrations help students make sense of the text. The drawings help language learners find the meaning of the unknown words, making the reading less stressful and much more pleasant. Difficult readings are not effective. I believe reading should not be difficult.
For a language learner, a book in another language can be intimidating, and a book with illustrations gives the student a sense of control and it helps him/her build self-confidence.
WHICH BOOK(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? WHY?
The book that I’m most proud of is the new Peter va a Colombia because it gives readers a glimpse of my homeland and culture. I was very fortunate to grow up in Colombia. I was born in the eastern mountain range of the Colombian Andes, very close to the Venezuelan border. There, in the evergreen mountains, I spent the first 19 years of my life. I had a beautiful childhood and I love sharing my culture and stories with students and teachers.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS WE SHOULD KEEP OUR EYES OUT FOR?
I’m always busy creating something. Currently I’m working on giving the Spanishcuentos.com site a facelift. I’m also working on a new version of Peter va a Colombia, as well as a few songs and videos to add to the website. I’m super excited about all of this!
HOW CAN WE BEST SUPPORT YOU?
Purchasing directly from www.spanishcuentos.com
WHERE CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU?
- La familia de Federico Rico – Level 1
- El gorila blanco de Guinea Española – Level 1
- El Silbón de Venezuela – Level 2
- ¡Papacito! – Level 1
- Peter va a Colombia – Level 1
- La piñata de Renata – Level 1
- El Pombero – Level 1
- El Ratón Pablito (Full color) – Level 1
- El ratón Pablito – Level 1