Tell us about yourself!
I am a teacher of English Learners at a local elementary school. I am passionate about teaching children to be proud of their bilingual superpowers. I have had the opportunity to teach second grade in Mexico for a year. I’ve also been able to go on missions trips in many parts of the world, including Jamaica, Guatemala, Thailand, Mexico, and Peru.
Tell us about your chapter books.
The Martinez Kids Adventures series is an early middle-grade chapter book series. It is at approximately a 3rd grade reading level, but families have enjoyed reading the book together with kids from ages 4-12.
I have found a special connection with bilingual Spanish and English-speaking families, and particularly bicultural families. Monolingual families with an interest in their kids learning Spanish have also shown a lot of interest.
Christian values are embedded into the stories, and discussion questions and Bible verses are available on my website. However, the books are not explicitly Christian, so they can be accessible with a public school audience as well.
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
These books have been very popular with children with a variety of interests. They are sweet adventure stories where the main characters are changed into animals through virtual reality. There are also descriptions of Mexican foods and celebrations in each story. Lovers of fantasy, animals, and culture have all loved these books.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
Rico, Diego, and Araceli are three bilingual siblings whose Papi was born in Mexico and whose Mami was born in Minnesota. They are sweet and spicy and love each other dearly but also face challenges like normal kids, which gives them the chance to learn some important life lessons.
Their next-door neighbors, Don Toño and Doña Rosa, are like surrogate grandparents to the family. Don Toño is a brilliant inventor who has created a virtual reality world that embodies all of the five senses.
While the stories begin in Minnesota, the kids feel that they are whisked away to exotic places like the coral reef, a jungle castle in Mexico, and the Arctic. The Arctic Quest adventure actually takes place as the kids are in the van traveling to their grandparents’ house in Mexico.
What inspired you to write this series?
Last summer, I was talking to my husband and some friends about how it would be fun to create some Spanish-language story podcasts for kids. I sat down to write one and it ended up turning into my first book, The Secret Door. This book is now available in English and Spanish.
It was important to me to tell the story of a bicultural family like my own. Of the few children’s books I have found with bicultural families, it seems that they are often focused on the cultural aspect. I love the beauty of my family and the way that my kids represent two different cultures. I wanted to create exciting stories that are enhanced by the cultural aspect, but not defined by it.
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was an elementary student, I loved to write and illustrate my own stories. When people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer was always to be an author/illustrator of children’s books.
As I got older, this dream moved to the back burner as I moved on to other interests and eventually became a teacher. When I actually got started writing, it just felt so natural, like I was rediscovering a forgotten part of who I am.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
It’s never too early or too late to follow your dream! I would recommend working your writing muscles when you’re in the mood. Write about what you’re interested in, what you know, or what you want to learn more about. It should be enjoyable!
What formats are your books available in?
Find them all here.
What’s next for the Martinez Kids Adventures?
My third book is in the very early stages, but there is no release date set yet.
If you’re in the market for chapter books, I’d love to share my series with you! Collar Cases is a Christian mystery series for readers 7-12.
Was it the disgruntled designer Dotty Dipstick, who angrily quit that very morning over "creative" disagreements?
Or perhaps it was Robert Roland, the suspiciously evasive engineer?
Or could there be someone even more sinister lurking beneath the small town peace?
Mittens and Alex may be the most famous investigative reporters at the Bowwow Bark, but they'll need all their wits to crack this case. Otherwise, Alex just might starve!
Can they uncover the culprit in time?More info →