Simona is a little girl with big dreams. She has a curious and creative mind. She loves to learn and finds comfort in her family and her books. In many ways she is a lot like I was at her age. Yet, her voice has the maturity and experience I obviously lacked when I was six years old. She embodies the perspective of a child and the insight of the adult, all in one.
What came Before?
A few years back, I heard Simona as a small, distant voice. It was the voice of my childhood, a box of memories. Back then, she was called Nicoletta, and she was telling me about a different adventure; there was a bike involved if I recall. The little story was written, the excitement bubble burst. It went away, like many others had done before.
A donde fuiste a parar Nicoletta? I wondered for a while. Then I forgot. As I forgot about my dream, my desire to become, to be a writer. Where was the unknown force that would turn me into one, suddenly and painlessly?
What’s Your Name?
Then, one day, it happened just like that. I heard a new, yet familiar voice. I asked the voice, “Como Te llamas?” and she answered Simona. And she told me her story, of change and courage. It made sense to me. It made sense to write it down and gift it to others. It made no sense at all to keep it for myself.
So, it all began with a name. I’ve come to realize, it usually does for me, in real life as well as fiction. I had to give a name to the voice, to the messenger. Simona just clicked. It is after all the name my father was never officially given, because of a hospital mistake, but the name that lingered. It is the name that in more than one way reminds me of home.
Can You See The Bigger Picture?
Making Simona’s stories bilingual was always part of the story. She had to speak Spanish, as I do. But I wanted the vehicle of the story to had an additional layer, another language: English. Why? Because English was the second language I was exposed to, and the language that served as a backdrop to the change and transformation that impacted my own life. Because, my focus was on writing texts and making books that I would want to read, own, and give.
The English language is a way to connect with more young readers, a way to motivate those young readers to appreciate and interact with more than one language and encourage them, and their parents, to widen their vocabulary and for that matter, their world.
The bigger picture is the world beyond the text and the book itself. It’s the world that you gain access to when you learn a new language, and appreciate a new culture and people, through the way they express their ideas and emotions.
The bigger picture is the fact that memories and family are what we should hold onto. That change is opportunity. And love is stronger than fear.
The bigger picture is what I want to expose young readers to, and never forget myself in the process.
Have you written a children’s book in English?
- Send me a link to your story/book so I may share it with the Simona’s Reading Club community.
- It would be awesome if your story could reach young readers in Spanish. I would love to collaborate with you and translate your story!