Monday, February 19, 2018

Author Maritza Martinez Mejia on Catherine Pascha

I was interviewed by Author Charlotte Riggle as part of The Multicultural Children’s Book Day Challenge on January 27, 2016 Thank you Charlie!


As part of the celebration of MCCBD, I recently had the privilege of interviewing Maritza M. Mejia.
Maritza is an author, advocate, educator, translator, and speaker. She won the FAU Treasure Coast Poetry Contest Spring 2010 and Virtue Christian Book Awards for Best Poetry 2015. She received the “Crystal Apple Award 2006” for her service to the community. She’s a member of the Florida Writers Association and Morningside Writers Group. Her two bilingual children’s books, Vanilla and Chocolate and Grandma’s Treasure received five-star reviews from Readers Favorite. You can find more about her books, including links to Amazon, at her website.
THE INTERVIEW
Can you tell me about yourself, and how you became an author?
I am from Bogotá, Colombia and came to Florida, United States, in 1993. I became a self-published author when I published my memoir, Hazel Eyes in 2010. Then, I continued with a collection of bilingual children’s books called Lessons for Living. The first story, Vanilla and Chocolate , was published in 2012, and the second tale, Grandma’s Treasure, in 2014. During 2015, I ventured with my first poetry book called Poems, Thoughts and More.
What or who inspired you to become a writer?
It seemed natural to me; I don’t recall a person to inspire me to write. I just started writing letters to my relatives abroad since young age, acrostic poems to my friends as a teenager, and children stories to teach my kids a moral as a mother. Later in life, I decided to write my memoir to leave a legacy to my family and friends.
What’s the best part of being a children’s book writer?
The best part of being a children’s book is the opportunity to read my stories to children at school events, family reading festival or classroom read aloud. I enjoy looking children’s faces and love the honest comments they express. When they capture the message of my books or enjoy the illustrations my daughter creates for the stories, they encourage me to keep writing.
Besides writing children’s books, you also write poetry. Can you tell me a little bit about your poetry?
Poetry is a natural gift I have since my early teens. Love, nature, and life are my inspiration to write poems. My poetry book is a celebration of life. I not only share monthly poems, but also funny flash fiction and anecdotes of my travels as tourist guide.
You translate books that other people have written. When you translate someone else’s work, is it different from translating your own work? How do you approach their writing?
When I translate my own work from English to Spanish, I don’t have to think about the meaning behind the lines since I know it. It’s an easy process that only takes time. However, it is not as easy to translate into another language someone else’s work. It is a long process to find out the real meaning and message other authors wants to transmit. I do not do it as a professional job, only as a favor to help a few friends reach the Hispanic community.

Why did you choose to write bilingual books?
I decided to write bilingual books to promote multicultural literature and keep traditions alive. Since I could not find dual language books with the values I learned from my parents, I began to write the stories to my children. I never imagined publishing them, but the opportunity arrived when my daughter agreed to illustrate the same stories I told them at early age. It is a collection of six books called Lessons for Living. At the moment I have only published two: Vanilla and Chocolateand Grandma’s Treasure.
Nearly all of the bilingual English-Spanish books I’ve seen are about the cultures and traditions of Spanish-speaking communities. Vanilla and Chocolate is not. How did you choose the topic of the book? What have parents and teachers said about the book?
This is an excellent question and thank you for asking! As an educator and immigrant, I have encountered different situation related to racism and discrimination. The main purpose of Vanilla and Chocolate is to teach how to build tolerance in our classrooms and homes. I have received good feedback from teachers and students, but a few parents do not like to talk about that topic. I respect their decisions and accept any kind of critics with respect.
What do you do to promote your books?
As a self-publishing author, promoting and selling is a challenge. I used social media as a main platform to promote my books. In addition, I participate in local library book fairs, classroom visits and young author speaker activities.
Can you tell me about a time when a parent or teacher had something wonderful happen because of your book?
Once, I received an e-mail from a parent from another state who bought four copies of Vanilla and Chocolate to share with her local church during Christmas time in 2012. I was impressed not only of the social media impact, but also the importance of comments and feed backs about your book. As soon as she published the review on Amazon, more people bought the book that year.
MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY (MCCBD) MISSION
The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Saturday, February 17, 2018

¡Es Tiempo de Cambio!…It’s Time to Change!

Durante la Cuaresma nos preparamos con oración, ayuno y abstinencia a un cambio para recibir la Pascua. Pero, ¿realmente estamos cambiando?...

Al ver las noticias diarias, mi respuesta es ¡NO! Algo no está funcionando bien y es necesario encontrar la raíz del problema antes que nos acostumbremos al dolor ajeno, sin hacer nada.


Algo para reflexionar durante el tiempo de oración, ayuno y abstinencia:


Les invito a reflexionar en nuestra escala de prioridades, más que en juzgar a los demás. ¡Lo sé! Tenemos que trabajar, pero producir para consumir atraídos más por la publicidad, que por la necesidad, no es una buena meta. 

Necesitamos RESCATAR los valores familiares que se han perdido con en el afán diario de Hacer, Tener, y Ser.  Hoy es día de pensar en la juventud, más que en nosotros mismos. Los jóvenes nos están pidiendo a gritos un poco de Amor, Comunicación y Atención. ¡Abracémoslos!

Les invito a dejar los celulares a un lado una vez a la semana y:
Tener un tiempo para escuchar a sus hijos.                      Que sea su oración.
Cenar en familia y Contar anécdotas familiares:                Que sea su ayuno.
Escuchar sin criticar, juzgar, polemizar:                             Que sea su abstinencia.

Mis oraciones y condolencias con los que están sufriendo en este momento. ¡Gracias! 
#LuzDelMes.

¡Es Tiempo de Cambio!…It’s Time to Change!

During Lent we prepare with prayer, fasting and abstinence to a change in preparation for Easter, but are we changing?... Watching the daily news, my answer is NO! Something it is not working well and it is necessary to find the root of the problem before we get used to the pain of others, without doing anything.

Something to think about during the time of prayer, fasting and abstinence:
I invite you to reflect on your scale of priorities, rather than in judging others. 
I know! We have to work, but produce to consume attracted more by advertising, rather than necessity, it is not a good goal. 
We need to rescue family values that have been lost with the daily effort to Do, Have and Be. 
Today is a day of thinking about the youth, rather than ourselves. 
Young people are asking us a little love, communication and care. Embrace them!

I invite you to leave cell phones to one side once a week then:
Take time to listen to your children. Just listen:     Make it your prayer.
Dine together and tell family stories:                     Make it your fast.

Listen without criticize, judge, argue:                    Make it your abstinence.

Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Educator, Bilingual Author and Translator
Recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006, VCB Poetry Winner 2015, Author’s Talk Book Award 2016, The Latino Book Awards 2016 and Author’s Talk Book Show 2017.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ojos Avellana: Testimonio de Fe

Te invito a leer Ojos Avellana y descubrir un camino de fe y esperanza. Estas memorias invitan a un llamado de cambio y crecimiento para que nuestra vida sea cada dia mejor. 

Libro ganador del Latino Book Awards 2016 y nominado al Premio Carmenluisa Pinto 2016 por  Publicaciones Entre Lineas.

Libro disponible en papel y digital: 


Comentarios acerca del libro:


By Cliente Kindle on August 30, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition 
Un testimonio hermoso de fe. Atrapa al lector desde las primeras páginas, ese es el verdadero talento del escritor. Leí el libro de corrido, sin interrumpir para nada.
Hay similitudes en la historia con la mía: la muerte de mis padres, que me hicieron conectarme con la autora. Me emocionó las escenas de la despedida de su madre.
En fin es un testimonio de amor, fe y esperanza. Felicitaciones a la autora.

Saludos desde Panamá
Rose Marie Tapia R.





By Nhora Giraldo on August 30, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Un relato claro lleno de verdad y de amor, no por el arte de la lógica o de la estética sino por la gracia de la sinceridad. Con base en tu luminoso concepto de fé, todo es posible. FELICITACIONES, Maritza M. Mejía.


By Janet Balletta on September 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Este libro renovó mi fe en Dios, la Virgen María y todos los ángeles que nos rodean. El autor me llevó por un increíble viaje de fe que representa los desafíos de ser cristiano y su encuentro milagroso con la Madre María. Mi parte favorita de la historia es el camino de fe en el que permaneció la señora Mejía a pesar de estar viviendo entre incrédulos y muchos otros obstáculos. Ojos Avellana es un libro que va a revivir su espíritu, independientemente de su afiliación religiosa. ¡Recomiendo este libro!


Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Educator, Bilingual Author and Translator
Recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006, VCB Poetry Winner 2015, Author’s Talk Book Award 2016, The Latino Book Awards 2016 and Author’s Talk Book Show 2017.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Perfect Readings for Lent - Lectura perfecta para Cuaresma


Art designed by Lisa Waters
Hazel Eyes,  an Inspirational Memoir for teenagers and adults. Each chapter takes the reader on a journey to discover the author’s spiritual experience of faith.
Ojos Avellana. 
Ha sido un placer traducir Hazel Eyes para mi Comunidad Hispana. Es mi testimonio de fe y legado para mi familia y futuras generaciones.


Comments about this book:
By Author Lisa Waters - March 2016

"Reading Author Maritza Martinez Mejia’s Hazel Eyes is somewhat of a mesmerizing memoir. It’s never very easy to write about one’s life, but the author captures the essence of her life in a way that’s unquestionably an outstanding and unbelievable journey. You’ll discover the young life of the author, her struggles and challenges living in Colombia, growing up and being subjected to worldly influences whereby she began to rebel. The author reveals how God touched her and she underwent a transformation not only in life but her views and behavior. During her early adult life she embarked upon a pilgrimage to Monte Carmelo in central Chile where she witnessed a miraculous apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and you’ll learn how her life progressed. The memoir will leave you in awe, fill you with hope, encourage you to renew your faith, cherish life, believe in the power of the Lord, and most of all bestow the acts of kindness and love upon all mankind."


You can order this Latino Book Awards online: 
Ojos Avellna recibe Latino Book Awards 2016
Visit: http://www.amazon.com/Maritza-Martinez-Mejia/e/B009DKDXFW 
                             Happy a Blessed Lent!

Commentarios acerca del Libro nomindado al Carmenluisa Pinto 2016
 y ganador del Latino Book Awards 2016
Por autora Rose Marie Tapia R.
August 30, 2015
"Un testimonio hermoso de fe. Atrapa al lector desde las primeras páginas, ese es el verdadero talento del escritor. Leí el libro de corrido, sin interrumpir para nada.
Hay similitudes en la historia con la mía: la muerte de mis padres, que me hicieron conectarme con la autora. Me emocionó las escenas de la despedida de su madre.
En fin es un testimonio de amor, fe y esperanza. Felicitaciones a la autora".
Saludos desde Panamá

Rose Marie Tapia R.
                                  Visita: http://www.amazon.com/Maritza-Martinez-Mejia/e/B009DKDXFW 

 Ten una bendecida Cuaresma

Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Educator, Bilingual Author and Translator
Recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006, VCB Poetry Winner 2015, Author’s Talk Book Award 2016, The Latino Book Awards 2016 and Author’s Talk Book Show 2017.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday - Miércoles de ceniza: Feb. 14

                                 Ash Wednesday                                                     

It is an old tradition from the eighth century in which the Catholics around the world receive blessed ashes made from the palms of last year’s Palm Sunday. The ashes represents: 
    1.    Our mortality 
    2.    Call us to repentance 
    3.    Beginning of Lent 
    4.    Fast and abstain from meat 

"You are dust and to dust you shall return." ~Genesis 3.19~
CURIOUS FACT:

Miércoles de ceniza

Miércoles de ceniza es una tradición desde el siglo VIII en que los católicos de todo el mundo reciben las cenizas benditas hechas de las palmas del domingo de Ramos del año pasado. Las cenizas representan:
1, Nuestra mortalidad
2. Llamado al arrepentimiento
3. Inicio de la Cuaresma
4. Tiempo de ayuno y abstinencia de carne.
"Polvo eres, y al polvo volverás" ~Genesis 3.19~
Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Educator, Bilingual Author and Translator
Recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006, VCB Poetry Winner 2015, Author’s Talk Book Award 2016, The Latino Book Awards 2016 and Author’s Talk Book Show 2017.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mardi Gras Traditions

Mardi Gras Traditions is about musical parades, food, and excitement. During the parades, people use purple, green and gold beads and colorful masquerades.

The term “Mardi Gras” (French word) means “Fat Tuesday.” It refers to the Tuesday before Lent. It is called "Fat" or "Great." Lent starts on a Wednesday with Ash Wednesday.
A king cake is associated with the Feast of Epiphany celebrated twelve days after Christmas and related with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras.
Photo credit visit: http://www.keiladawson.com/easy-pillsbury-king-cake-recipe/
                                          Activities for Mardi Gras:                                           

Create a Masquerade with any recycle supplies you have at home. 
"Laissez les bons temps rouler"
It means, Let the good times roll!

After Ash Wednesday is Lent!
                                   ¿Qué es Mardi Gras?
El término "Mardi Gras" (palabra francesa) significa "Martes gordo" y se refiere al martes antes de Cuaresma. Se llama "Grasa" o "Gran" porque se asocia con la buena comida y festivales. Mardi Gras es una tradición similar a los Carnavales de Rio, Barranquilla, New Orleans y todos los países que celebran con desfiles de carrozas y bailes tradicionales antes del Miércoles de Ceniza cuando inicia la Cuaresma.  Usualmente se hace la Rosca de Reyes o de Mardi Gras/Carnival.



¡Mañana es Miércoles de Ceniza!


Maritza Martínez Mejía
Mother, Educator, Bilingual Author and Translator
Recipient of the Crystal Apple Award 2006, VCB Poetry Winner 2015, Author’s Talk Book Award 2016, The Latino Book Awards 2016 and Author’s Talk Book Show 2017.