Today we have with us a very special guest – Rene Colato – a writer of books for children! It’s a change of pace, I know, but nothing is more important than getting your children to read.
I was an avid reader as a child and some of my fondest memories are of walking to the library with my grandmother or eagerly waiting for the bookmobile to stop at the corner so I could pick up my latest horde of books to read. My parents also provided lots of books for us and to this day I have a box filled with my favorites that I read to my daughter as a child.
So please give a big welcome to Rene and learn a little about him and his latest release, MY SHOES AND I.
From the Author
How I Became the Teacher Full of Stories
and a Children’s Book Author
I always wanted to write a book. In high school and college, I wrote seven novels for my family and friends. All of them are on their first drafts and have potential to become novels in the future. Also in college my short stories “Blood Tears” and “White Sheep Among White Lambs” became plays. I was confident that I could write a book and be an author.
Then I became a teacher and when I opened the door of room 11 at Fernangeles Elementary School, I discovered wonderful, colorful, excellent picture books. It was an instant love and soon I was writing my books for my students.
In my classroom, I loved to tell funny, scary, sad, happy and adventurous stories.
One day, one of my students asked me, “Can you write that story and draw the pictures?”
“What a wonderful idea!” I told him.
That night, I wrote and illustrated my first picture book- “El número 1/ The Number 1.” I finished the book at 1:00 A.M. and I was thrilled. I used watercolors to illustrate the book. The story is about Big Number One visiting a Number One Island. In the island lived little number ones and they were scared of Big Number One. Years later, I published this story in the Spanish magazine for children Revista Iguana.
After “El número 1” , I wrote and illustrated more books. Soon, I had a box labeled “Mr. Colato’s Books”. I discovered that during independent and silent reading, this box was empty. All around the classroom, my students were reading my books. I was so excited and decided to write more and more books.
After presenting a new book, Elvis told me, “You are the teacher full of stories.”
“Sí, yes! He is the teacher full of stories,” all the children said at the same time.
And I became the teacher full of stories at Fernangeles Elementary. Teachers began to borrow my books. I created poems and songs for the school. One time, I even illustrated a flyer title “Wash Your Hands”.
Soon, “Mr. Colato’s box” included books such as: Fabiola, Fabiola , The Three Delicious Pies, In Search of a Baby, I Am, Dear Journal, A Year Full of Adventures, Teacher What I need to do?, A Story Full of Color, My House is a Castle and many more.
One morning, children’s book authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy visited my school and told me, “You have to send this wonderful books to publishers.” Then, I joined their workshops “Teachers in the Classroom” that Project M.O.R.E. was offering for LAUSD teachers. Both Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy inspired me to create more books and to begin to send manuscripts to publishers.
The journey to publication was hard but in my way, I found many learning opportunities to craft my writing with UCLA, SCBWI, Highlights Foundation, the Institute of Children’s Literature and finally I obtained a MFA in writing for Children and Young Adult at Vermont College.
In November 2004, I published my first picture book Waiting for Papá/ Esperando a Papá. The following year, I published I Am René, the Boy and Playing Lotería. In September, my book number 7th is coming out, From North to South (Children’s Book Press).
Yeah! I am still The Teacher Full of Stories and there are many books coming soon.
My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.
Purchasing the Book:
You can purchase this book at the Dulce Bread and Book Shop by clicking on this link:
About the Author:
René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, the Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. His picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. Rene was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. Rene is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
Visit Rene at these other guest blogs on his tour!
March 08 Mayra Calvani
March 09 Lori Calabrese
March 10 Christina Rodriguez
March 11 Silvia
March 12 Monica Olivera Hazelton
March 15 Tina Nichols Coury
March 16 Michael Sedano
March 18 Sandra Lopez
March 19 Sheila DeChantal