Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Latinas for Latino Lit Día Blog Hop with René Colato Laínez

The L4LL Día Blog Hop
I am so excited to participate in the Latinas for Latino Lit 2nd Annual Latino Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros Blog Hop!

I am joining forces with 24 Latina bloggers to bring to you 24 Latino authors, and illustrators.

As a strong advocate of Latino children's book I am so honored to introduce to you René Colato Laínez one of our favorite Latino children's author in our home!


A few years ago, The Utah Humanities Book Festival asked me the following question: “What kind of idea are you?”

This was my response:

I am the idea of Go get it! It is right there waiting for me. I am not afraid. I know that I can do it. I walk towards that goal with a positive spirit. Sometimes it might be windy or freezing or the earth may shake. But my steps are sure and strong. If I fall down, I get up. If there is a rock blocking my way, I roll it down the hill. If there is a river, I cross it. No matter what, at the end of the journey my goal is there waiting for me. The immigrant child, who came from El Salvador to the USA with a backpack full of dreams, has accomplished all of them. Now he is a teacher, a teacher full of stories. He is also an award-winning author. That child is me, René Colato Laínez. So everyone, go get it!


When I was child, I had two dreams to become a teacher and to write a book. I wanted to be a teacher because I was always impressed to see how they could transform a child from a non-reader to an eager reader. Teachers had the magic to touch the future and I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to write a book because my mother’s uncle, Jorge Buenaventura Laínez-, was an author in El Salvador. He wrote on the last page of his family biography, Los Laínez de la Soledad: “This is not the end of the Laínez. I know that new generations will grow and I want one of those Laínez to continue the tradition of writing.” I read this when I was twelve years old and I felt that Tío Jorge was pointing at me to be the next writer in the family. So, I promised myself that one day, I would write a book.

But then, a civil war started in El Salvador and my family had to immigrate to the United States. I came with a backpack full of dreams, eager to convert those dreams into reality. In El Salvador, I was an excellent reader. I was great with numbers. But in my new school in the USA, I felt that I was a dumb student. Everything was upside down. Teachers were using letters instead of numbers to grade the students. Math was so confusing, I did not know that new way of multiplying and dividing numbers. Students wrote the date backward 5-12-1985. “Today in not December 5th,” I said. One of the students rolled his eyes as he said, “You don’t even know today’s date.” When I found the word “once” at the beginning of a book, I read it as the number eleven in Spanish and I was shocked to find out that it was not only eleven, it was also time. So, I sat on my desk very sad and asked myself, “Will my dreams become a reality in the United States?”

I believed in myself. I did my best and I did not give up. Soon, I was learning and in a few years I was graduating high school with honors! I was accepted to a four-year university. In 1993, eight years after I left El Salvador, I accomplished my first dream. I became a teacher.

Now I was ready for my second dream, to publish a book. It was the year 2000 when I submitted my first manuscript. The road to publication was not easy at all. I received tons of rejections letters. But I believed in my work. I did my best and I did not give up. I took a creative writing class and I did a MFA in Writing for Children for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2002, Arte Público Press gave me my big chance. I was so thrilled to receive a book contract for my picture book manuscript, Waiting for Papá/ Esperando a Papá. The book was published on October 31st, 2004. Yes, I accomplished my second dream. I was an author!

This is my tenth year anniversary as a published author. It has been ten wonderful years of writing, visiting schools, doing reading all around the United States and even in my native country El Salvador. I have met and become friends with many authors and illustrators. I have published nine books. Two more are coming in 2015. I have participated in an anthology. I have published poems and stories in Iguana Magazine and in many educational reading programs.

Yes, I did it as an illegal immigrant child with no English at all at the beginning of my journey.  So now I say to all the children and adults, go get it! Go for your dreams. Believe in yourself. Do your best. Do not give up. I know that your dream is right there waiting for you.


René Colato Laínez


  1. What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing this author's story. I need to go find some of his books!


© Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes 2012. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except as expressly permitted in writing by the owner/author of Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...