to foster bilingualism & promote biliteracy-
every story includes English & Spanish text in some capacity.
to celebrate bicultural/multicultural children -
every story features a character that is of mixed heritage.
Reading these books provides benefits such as:
building intercultural competence: This means that the readers are able to learn about other cultures and also reflect on their own by making comparisons & connections. This is integral to becoming a global citizen.
exposure to another language: Whether the story is written in Spanglish or displays the full text in both English & Spanish, the reader, regardless of linguistic background, is seeing a different language in context.
The first step in language learning is exposure.
seeing Black & Brown characters: The stories are written for all children, but for those readers that can identify with the characters, the experience can be much more than a fun read. Representation in books tells the readers that they belong.
Dia has spent over a decade helping students become confident, compassionate, and bilingual in her Spanish classes. With a Master of Education degree in Bilingual-Bicultural Education, she focuses on creating opportunities for children to develop cultural awareness. Dia loves to spend time with her family and travel with friends. She currently teaches middle & high school Spanish in her hometown, Columbus, Ohio.
As a former elementary Spanish teacher, Dia realized the need for more diversity in children’s literature well over a decade ago. She found ways around the deficit by roughly translating picture books as she used them in her lessons and even writing her own short stories to share with students that included characters of color and highlighted countries that were rarely depicted in books.
She always wanted to write children’s books, but with the hustle and bustle of adulthood and her passion for travel, free time was almost non-existent. It wasn’t until her son was born, that Dia slowed down and really thought about the impact this lack of diversity in children’s literature could have on not just her son, but children all over the world.
In December 2020, her creative juices started to flow. One Whole Me was written in the middle of the night. From there, Dia started asking for advice from fellow authors, joining groups and organizations, and immersed herself in all things picture book related. Her author journey had begun! Dia is looking forward to being part of the movement to diversify bookshelves for years to come!
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