A LOVE STORY
MANY YEARS ago a young, beautiful woman, asked for my help. She was writing a bilingual children’s book about her beloved dog, Doley, and needed help with the Spanish translation. We met at a Starbucks near my house and I was instantly captivated by her story – Jill had lived in a treehouse (yes, literally a treehouse) in lake Atitlan where she met Doley, a street dog. She fell in love with the dog and ended up adopting her. When it was time for Jill to return to Seattle she brought Doley back to live with her.
Here is what I loved about Jill. She wanted to write a bilingual book BUT she wanted to be respectful of the Latino culture. She sought and found a Latino illustrator Marcio Diaz – one of my favorite, local artist. She could have picked any illustrator but she deliberately hired an artist who understood the setting with all his senses (which is the point of the book) and could bring the story alive through his paintings. She also made sure that someone (me) had input with the translation and cultural markings. She knew that just a translation would not be enough to honor Doley’s culture.
When we finished our meeting I went to the car with Jill to meet Doley. She was a thin dog with eyes that didn’t match. I will never forget the look of adoration she bestowed upon her master.
I liked Jill’s heart so I agreed to help her. We worked on her first book and then I watched her – with much amazement – how she worked VERY HARD to self-publish and sell her book all by herself. She became a role model for me and for my students (I often bragged about her).
One day she shared the sad news that Doley had died. I felt her pain. I didn’t know how to console her. Time passed and suddenly she wrote me to tell me that she was ready to work on a second Doley book. Once again she asked for my help and I was delighted to continue to collaborate in another beautiful tribute to our late Doley.
Today I discovered that Jill was on TV! I am thrilled beyond words to watch her success. She has earned it and I have no doubt that she will go even further. I write this blog, for I am hoping that my Latino students – and my non-Latino students – may be inspired by her story, her diligence and commitment. I am hoping that other writers follow her example in being respectful about the culture of their characters– no matter what culture it may be.
In the end, this is a story where love and hard work ultimately triumph. I am sure that Doley’s tale is wagging as she waits for Jill to join her in another lake, in another tree house, perhaps, somewhere...
CONGRATULATIONS / FELICIDADES Jill.
ps: and here is where to buy her book (and no, I am not being paid to promote it :)) http://www.amazon.com/Doley-Guatemalan-Street-Dog-English/dp/0615511244/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449168056&sr=1-3