Archive for ‘Freelance’

July 12, 2011

Dancing Home

Today is a very special day in my life as an editor.  The first book I edited—Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and her son, Gabriel M. Zubizarreta—was published today by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division.



Dancing Home is a story for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12) that alternates between the perspectives of Mexican-American Margie and her Mexican cousin Lupe.  Margie has finally convinced the kids in her California school that she is one-hundred percent American, just like they are. But when Lupe comes to visit and attend school with Margie for a year, everything changes.  Margie resents the effect Lupe’s arrival has on her family, her friends, and her life at school.  Meanwhile, Lupe is struggling to learn a new language and find her place in a new school.  Both girls are in need of a friend, and with the help of a special Mexican dance, they find one in one another.


The book is being simultaneously published in English and Spanish (I helped very little with the Spanish edition, Nacer bailando—majoring in German really wasn’t practical).  Although I did the majority of the editorial work on the English edition before I left S&S in November, there was still plenty of work to do by the other incredibly talented people at Atheneum.  I recently got advance copies of both editions, and let me tell you, they did a beautiful job.


Clearly this book has a special place in my heart, and I was delighted to find that trade review journals liked it, too!  Here’s what they had to say:


“The third-person narration shifts its focus gently from girl to girl, allowing readers access to their thoughts and feelings…. Although sometimes wise beyond their years, Margie and Lupe will charm readers as each girl struggles for belonging and acceptance in this realistic novel.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS, June 1, 2011

“This story will assist readers in embracing their own heritage and developing an appreciation for their classmates’ backgrounds. It’s an enjoyable offering (and a great read-aloud) that will capture readers’ attention and have them rooting for the cousins and their friendships and family relationships.”

School Library Journal, July 2011

“Ada, the author of many multicultural titles, including Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection (2006), and Zubizarreta write knowingly of the difficulties of a life lived in two cultures. A subplot involving Lupe’s father (who came to America illegally and later abandoned his family) is also well handled, as is the inclusion of a Ruben Dario poem, “To Margarita.” Give this to fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising (2000) and Becoming Naomi Leon (2004).”

Booklist, July 1, 2011


Next time you’re at a bookstore or the library, stop over to the children’s section and check it out.


Congratulations to Alma Flor and Gabriel on the publication of their book!


May 12, 2011

Why I Love Being a SAHM

For the record, I think the acronym “SAHM” is silly.  It’s not easy to pronounce, as an acronym should be, and the “A” for “at” seems grammatically incorrect to me.  But this is a blog on the internet, where this kind of speech reigns.  When in Rome, right?

When I finally made the decision to stay at home with Jacob, I was not entirely at peace with the choice.  I knew it was the plan John and I had agreed upon when we got married, and I knew that it was the right thing for our family.  Still, I loved my job very much, and the sea of unknowns that come with being home with a newborn threatened to overwhelm me.  I was bummed that John got to work and have those interactions with adults, be intellectually stimulated, build a career, etc. and also had a baby and a home to come back to at the end of the day.  I felt like he had the best of both worlds and the better end of the deal.

Eight months later, the tables have turned in my mind.  Now I wonder how in the world he gets up every day and leaves us to go into—dun, dun, dun—Manhattan!  I can’t imagine not being here for so many special moments in Jacob’s life (even if a good number of his “firsts” come in the middle of the night).  And by God’s grace, my freelance business is steadily growing, so I continue to have interaction with adults, intellectual stimulation, a growing career, etc.  And there’s so much more!

I am reading like crazy—almost a book a week.

I am writing every day—here and otherwise.

I am eating healthier foods—having a full kitchen at my disposal at mealtime, rather than stuffing lunch in a bag is a great blessing.

I am in better shape—scooping up a nearly twenty-pound baby who knows how many times a day and walking everywhere I need to go beats sitting in a cubicle any day!

Basically, I am doing all the things I love every day—being with my baby, praying, reading, writing, editing, eating well, and exercising (even if it is disguised as a trip to Target).  Oh, how mysteriously God works in our lives!

I often get the impression that some folks wait to have their lives in order before they have babies.  In my experience, life got started once I had a baby, not the other way around.

It’s just another example of the tremendous fruits of trusting in God.  His grace is abundant, and despite the new daily stresses my life has taken on, I feel His mercy raining down on me all the time.

I know every mom makes the decision that is right for her and her family.  I only mean to make the point that I am better, I am more complete because I am a mom.  And I am so very grateful for this gift.

March 14, 2011

Git ‘Er Done.

A short time ago I mentioned that if I could pick a mothering mantra, it would be “If God puts you to it, God will get you through it.” I still stand by this; grace has simply overflowed in the last year and a half, through getting married, being pregnant, and having Jacob.

However, if I could have a second mantra—and who’s stopping me, really?—without a doubt it would be: “Git ‘er done.”

As a mother—especially the mother of a five-month-old baby—if I see something has to get done, I have to be the one to do it (unless John is around and that “something” is a diaper change.  Thanks, love!).

Becoming a mother is an intense transition, one that began with being more mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted than I’ve ever been before.  It took some time for me to get up and get moving when something needed to happen.  Those first months are like being promoted from intern in C.E.O. in one fell swoop.

The other day, John gave me a very sweet and humbling compliment:  “I’m amazed at how much you’re able to do.”  We were talking about my freelance business, which is still small, but steady, and maybe about something I’d cooked that day as well.  I thought a moment, and then replied, “So am I.”

As a young woman figuring out how to care for herself and her husband, taking on a baby and the majority of household tasks can be a tall order.  Add a small business and a growing disdain for food that comes from a box, and you’ve got yourself quite a busy lady.

I don’t say all this to boast of myself at all.  I’m really not doing it alone; I have John, family close by, and lots of friends with and without kids that are unwaveringly encouraging and supportive.  I only say this to go back to that first mantra.

Our family is what it is because of our faith.  Because we pray the rosary together each night.  Because we work every day at strengthening our marriage.  Because we are always finding new ways to show our son how tremendously and unconditionally he is loved.

As much fun as a good power trip can sometimes be, making decisions about feeding schedules, clothing, whether that last nap was long enough and when the next one should be can be terrifying.  But with Christ, all things are possible, and with a little faith, it’s really not so hard to get it all done.

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