Today’s blog is shining the star on a bilingual author who is seeking to support those children growing up in two cultures. I have been lucky enough to interview her about her book and her journey.
How did the book come about?
Rewind to over 2 years ago I was in a coffee shop in Spain doing some writing for a non fiction book I’d been working on for a while. Writing has always been a passion of mine but for a good while I hit writer’s block. While I was daydreaming, I spotted some children running around, they were speaking in Spanish then one of the mothers spoke to her daughter in English. That’s when it hit me, why don’t I write a children’s book about growing up with different cultures where children from different backgrounds can relate and base it on my own experience? I always wanted to write about it and show people the advantages of growing up bilingual and spending my summer holidays in a magical village in Spain. So that’s what I did, I made a plan and got writing. I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it!
What do you think children learn from your book?
Children that speak 2 different languages or come from different backgrounds can learn to be proud of their heritage and know at times it can be difficult switching from the two. In this book it’s aimed at children who speak Spanish and English. Children who speak one language can learn that being different is ok. It’s better to be kind and help others feel good about themselves. Afterall, kindness always wins. I’m in the process of publishing the English version only.
And a little about your journey?
So I finished the book and had doubts. I knew being a children’s author was very competitive but it didn’t stop me from sending over my manuscript to literary agents. One by one I received replies saying it wasn’t the sort of thing they were looking for. This set me back and made me think maybe my writing wasn’t good enough. So I forgot about it. 2 years later the pandemic hit and I was on furlough from work then later made redundant. This gave me a lot of time to think and rekindle with my writing. My friend’s sister is an illustrator so I hired her to do the drawings. I was overjoyed with her illustrations so I really believed my story could work. I began the process of publishing it on amazon and so happy I did. So far I’ve had really good feedback especially from Spanish parents who live in the UK who are teaching their children Spanish. It really has blown up! I’m already thinking about the next children’s book to write, watch this space.
If you’d like to follow Natalia, here is her link for Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nats_spanglish_diaries/?hl=en
More to books…
I love that it combines two languages. Even for children who are not bilingual, I know when I worked in Italy with English children, they loved to devour the books that we got for them in Italian.
Having books children already love in other languages can help children learn effortlessly.
I love the message of Natalia’s book that it is ok to be different.