My Children’s Books in Translation

When I was at the Children’s Festival of Reading last summer, a young woman approached our booth with a child on her hip. She looked through the books, bought one of my children’s books, and commented that it was very difficult to find children’s books in Spanish (at that time all of my books were in English).

A couple of months later I was chatting with the husband and wife who do occasional landscaping for us. When I mentioned the encounter with the young mother and said I was thinking about having my books translated, Maria told me that when they moved to the US from Mexico, she used children’s fairy tales to help teach their daughter English. The child was already familiar with the story in Spanish, which made the tales a good teaching tool. She also said that I should take care to get a good translator; I asked if she would be interested and she immediately said yes. The result of our collaboration is now available, and all of us involved (author, illustrator, translator) are pleased with how things turned out. 

The notion of helping young children to begin to learn the language of their new country was part of the reason I chose to do this. That idea has a lot of appeal to me for a number of reasons: although I am not bilingual myself, I recognize the value of that skill; also, I believe there is great strength in diversity and any small thing I can do to make new arrivals welcome is a plus as far as I’m concerned; and finally, I believe it is vitally important for parents to read to their children. That last point applies to much more than bilingual education, of course. One of my goals in writing children’s books is to help spark conversations between young children and adults; both sides can learn something from that kind of exchange.

The catalog page on my website ( lists all my books, including the new Spanish translations. 

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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