Friday, July 8, 2011

Cherrye Vasquez and No Tildes on Tuesday

My guest today is Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez, the author of No Tildes on Tuesday. Dr. Vasquez shares how she used educational material along with her fictional story to inspire children and make her book more useful in the classroom. No Tildes on Tuesday is about a girl who doesn't want to learn speak Spanish. But when her parents announce that they are moving the family to a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, Isabella grudgingly agrees to start Spanish lessons with her abuela. 

The passion for writing my first book, No Tildes on Tuesday, stems from a desire to help students/children push forward as they become aware of their personal identities. Although this is indeed a journey, my platform centers around expressing to readers the complexities that may arise in children's lives when they are not introduced and taught to appreciate all of who they are, whether monoracial, biracial or multiracial. My plight is to share the message of teaching children early and often to embrace not only their heritage(s), culture(s) and ethnicit(ies), but the heritage(s), culture(s) and ethnicit(ies) of others including their school mates, neighbors and associates near and far.

All being said, even though my book is a children’s chapter book, as a writer, I decided to add a worksheet at the end of it. I’m sure that this idea isn’t unique however; I wanted to add depth to my book so that it would have additional use to teachers in the public school setting.

In addition, I am writing a sequel to No Tildes on Tuesday. I hope to title my second book, Dedicated Identity. Since there is a message of identity ownership, I am also writing in a helpful tips page entitled: Positive Approaches in Forming Healthy Identity in Biracial/Multiracial Children. On this page, I will begin with an Introduction followed by tips for parents, educators, and then the biracial/multiracial child. Finally, I have written a message specifically for the child which contains acknowledgement and affirmation statements.

By adding these writing features, I hope that my audience will more than likely find greater use for my books. Writers may want to use techniques such as these so that value is added to their books.

For example, teachers may not only select my book for classroom reading, but they may want to use questions from my worksheet as they allow students to dialogue among themselves about similarities and differences one to another. Too, teachers can encourage students to journal about their feelings using culturally proficient terminology. By doing so, students can express their feelings through writing. Writing can be a great "medicinal" tool for enhancing and building character, self worth as hearty and powerful individuals who possess strength and empowerment.

Once students have read my book, they can begin to have friendly discourse about the main character, Isabella, who happens to be biracial. Students can share how they believe Isabella felt as she journeyed through transitional stages in her life finding and learning about her heritages.

Teachers and parents can persuade students to use reflective ideas and thoughts of their own as they share about personal developments in their environments as relative to the story.

As writers, using creative ideas such as these can add magnitude to the worth of your books whereby the chances of your books becoming selected are greater.

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