Today I want to share this piece I wrote as my May’s contribution on Path to Publication Blog in which I talk about the piece of myself that goes into each of the picture books I write. You can visit the post here. However, in this occasion, I also wanted to include the complete text on my blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked writing it.
A PIECE OF MYSELF
One of the things I love the most about being a writer is the piece of myself that goes into every one of my picture book stories. By doing this, a very special connection is created with each manuscript in a unique way.
Over the past two years I have created several stories. One of them became my debut picture book. A second one will become a published book in the near future (I can’t wait for the official announcement!), while some others are patiently waiting to find homes at the right time.
Each story has a different theme, set of values, and sometimes even a unique structure. In everyone of them, there’s something I want to share with young readers; either because it’s something I’ve experienced (directly or indirectly), or something I love or believe in.
Being Mexican, it’s natural that some of my stories include Spanish. I love being able to share my language with young children as a way to celebrate and embrace differences. In what will be my second book, besides the Spanish, I will also share about one of my country’s most beloved traditional celebrations. I feel very proud and grateful to have the chance of showing a bit of Mexico’s rich culture and heritage in my books, it’s truly a privilege.
However, not all my manuscripts are directly connected to my culture or include Spanish. I’m glad because I write what I want, what comes out of me. The source and inspiration of the words varies. My stories are all dear to me in a special way, although maybe not all of them will get to be published and that’s okay too.
I have manuscripts in which I got inspiration from my kids’ lives experiences (even from their toys). There’s another one I wrote in which readers will need to use basic critical thinking skills, which is a topic I used to teach my high school students when I was a teacher. Another story was inspired by my love for the stage during my college years. Writing these stories makes me smile, because they bring dear memories to my present, and that’s a gift.
My love for dogs (and now even cats) is something that’s also reflected in some of my manuscripts. I have a story about a dog that is a work in process. It’s been like that for almost two years because I haven’t been able to make it work and I’ve focused on something else. However, I’m not planning to give up on it, because I believe in the cause. I go back to eat every now and then and I keep it in my mind. I know one day I’ll come up with the perfect way to untangle it and who knows, maybe it will become a book in the shelves sometime.
Something else I put in my manuscripts are my values. I include the ones that matter and resonate with me the most, and the ones I want my kids to find in what they read such as friendship, tolerance, diversity, inclusion, being brave and overcoming challenges, among others. I also try to include a take away message in my stories, not in a lecture-kind-of-way, but something subtle and meaningful that can remain in the readers’ hearts and minds after they finish the book.
In conclusion, I believe that every writer, whether consciously or not, leaves a part of themselves in their books. That’s why the stories we tell matter, because they come from a person who has a combination of experiences, beliefs, values, knowledge and a view of the world like no other. That’s exactly the part of ourselves that makes us unique as writers and in consequence what makes our stories unique too.
What about you? What piece of yourself do you leave in your stories?
Cover photo by Tirachard.