Saturday, February 17, 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.
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.
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:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Chinese Year of the Dog 2018

The Chinese Zodiac is the classification scheme that assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle. This year is the YEAR of the DOG. 

The first day of the New Year can normally fall on a new full moon between January 21st.  and February 20th. The Chinese New Year of the Rooster began on January 28, 2017 and the year of the Dog starts on February 16, 2018.
The Chinese New Year festivities last until the Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day of the first calendar month of the New Year.


Chinese New YearMardi Gras, Valentine’s DayAsh Wednesday and Lent fall in the same week.


Photo courtesy:

19 Books Celebrating China

 with Author Demi

Photo Courtesy:
FREE Reading Activities
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

Love Month Activities - Actividades para el Mes del Amor

Love Month      💘    Mes del Amor
February is a month dedicated to Love, but what is Love? It is a deliberate act of my will. “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or proud.” ~1 Cor. 13:4~
Let's celebrate Love Month with a:
Surprise Card, 
Love Breakfast
Special moment
 💗 Give a Book 💗 

Happy Love Month!

Febrero es un mes dedicado al Amor, pero ¿qué es Amor? Es un acto deliberado de mi voluntad. “El amor es paciente y servicial; no es orgulloso o celoso."~1 Cor.13:4~

Celebremos el Mes del Amor con:

Un desayuno sorpresa
Un poema
Una tarjeta
Un momento inesperado
Un detalle
Un beso
Un abrazo


¡Feliz Mes del Amor! 

💓Free Poems Visit:💓
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

Valentine’s Day Activity and more 💗 Celebrate Traditions 💗

Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, with their special “valentine.” 
What is Valentine? It is a day to celebrate love and friendship.
Why is called Valentine? It comes from a Christian martyr from the 5th century and Roman Traditions.
Who is St. Valentine? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred.
About the Legend? Valentine was a Bishop in the third century in Rome. Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape from Roman prisons during Emperor Claudius. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Celebrate LOVE Month 💗

More details visit: 

Valentine’s Day Activities for kids
My favorite Valentine’s Activityies my children made at Elementary School:
1. Coloring Page - download here:

2. Personalized Valentine’s Placemat. 

💗 Trace hearts with color pencil on a heavy paper stock
💗 Color the inside with different color crayons.
💗 If possible, laminated the paper & Round corners for safety 

San Valentin
Cada año el 14 de febrero, muchas personas intercambian tarjetas, con su especial "San Valentín", pero  ¿Qué es San Valentín? Es un día para celebrar amor y amistad.
¿Acerca de la leyenda? San Valentín fue un obispo en el tercer siglo en Roma. San Valentín fue asesinado por intentar ayudar a los cristianos a huir de las prisiones durante el Tiempo Romano del emperador Claudius.
Antes de su muerte, se dice que escribió que una carta firmada "De tu Valentín," una expresión que hoy en día es usada. 
💗 Celebraremos el Mes del AMOR 💗

Poemas en mi BLOG:

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.

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~

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.