by Ana Siqueira and Geraldine Rodriguez – Beaming Books 2021
Thanks, Author Lounge for inviting me to share my story as an author and teacher. And to talk more about my book.
Bella’s Secret for Success, written by me, and illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez, is a book about mistakes, trials, and having a growth mindset.
My story as a writer is also a story about mistakes and trials.
I started writing when I was a child. I loved writing scary stories and long adventures.
In Brazil, I got two books published. But when I moved to the United States in 1992, I stopped writing. Life was too complicated with two little children, a college degree to complete, and a full-time job. And as life kept going, I quit writing my stories. Until…
My Spanish second-grader students asked me to write a story about a viral video with a song by Bryant Oden – The Duck Song. Of course, it had to be in Spanish with easy vocabulary words.
So, with Bryant’s authorization, I wrote a Spanish Early Reader and sold it to Teacher’s Discovery, a publisher for the educational market. The book was illustrated by Adriana Cinifuentes from Argentina.
After that story, I got inspired, and follow my mami’s request: go back to writing.
And that is how Bella’s Recipe for Success was born. But not before I went through many versions, mistakes, trials, and retrials.
Just like me, Bella wants to be fabulosa at something.
Bella’s brother is a fabuloso piano player. Bella’s sister is an amazing gymnast.
What is Bella good at?
Bella tries to be a gymnast, like her hermana. But her somersaults look like jirafa rolling downhill.
She tries to be a piano player, like her hermano. But her hands are as heavy as elephant feet.
She asks Abuela to teach her to bake polvorones with dulce de leche. But her first batch is as hard as a rock.
While searching for her talent, Bella forgets something very important. To learn something, we need to practice, practice and practice.
But when she learns “We Can Always Try Again,” she bakes deliciosos cookies, and she becomes the master of practicing.
As a teacher and a mom, I noticed perfectionist children can get frustrated and quit easily when things don’t go their way. My daughter would quit when she was not one of the best. So this book is for my perfectionist girl and all children, so they can realize mistakes are part of the learning process. And you don’t need to be the best, just try your best.
Bella was the second story I wrote. I had to revise this story over thirty times. First, Bella’s name was Bia. Second, Bella wanted to be a good writer. (Hmmm… who was the inspiration?), then this manuscript went through many trials, errors, and disappointments. With the help of classes, webinars, my critique partners, and some paid critiques, I started learning and learning. I practiced writing for many hours before getting a manuscript ready to submit. When I get a “like” during a Pitmad – a Twitter event – from Naomi Krueger, I revised it a little more and submitted it. And I am so thankful that Naomi loved my Bella, too.
I wish this book could be translated into other languages, so children all over the world could be inspired by Bella and her discovery: We Can Always Try Again.
Meanwhile, I want to read this book to school children, and for that reason, I would love to contact (or have them contact me) Title 1 schools, so I can visit them in person (Tampa Bay area) or virtually for free, and let Bella and other stories inspire them all.
As a mom, Abuela, teacher, and children’s book writer, I will always work hard to inspire everyone with stories that represent all the children. I write stories based on my experiences and memories, but I love reading stories about diverse children around the world.
As the co-founder of @Latinxpitch – a Twitter event that promotes kidlit creators, I want the Latine children to feel proud to see themselves in stories. I want children with different abilities or limitations to see themselves too. As a human being who believes we are all the same, despite our differences, I want all children to learn about each other to foster respect, acceptance, and empathy.
This year, my second book is coming out – IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA, also in Spanish, CUANDO TU NINERA ES UNA BRUJA. And for 2023, I have three books coming: ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA/ LA SUPERCAPA DE ABUELA, an early reader graphic novel about Boitatá, and a board book about a baby day in Brazil. And more books are coming out in 2024. So, now that I’ve started, I will keep on practicing, making mistakes, trying again, and never quitting.
I live in Tampa Bay with my Cuban husband and during the weekends I like to visit and read to my grandkids who live here. My grandson, who lives in Seattle, meets with me once or twice a week to play games and write stories. We are even writing a graphic novel together.
To learn more about me check my website: https://anafiction.com/