The first day I sat in Spanish class in college, my professor said it would be the last day we would speak English in the classroom. I knew at that moment I would not be coming back to that class. Even in high school, I struggled with Spanish. My brain just doesn’t work in Spanish! I have a horrible overwhelming feeling when I think about trying to learn the language, or any other foreign language!
I do, however, have several Spanish speaking friends, and a love for the Spanish culture. I’ve attended many Spanish church services, and I have always felt a connection to the Spanish people in my life. And of course I love the food!
As a child and teenager many of my best friends were of different cultures, Mexican, Bolivian, Russian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian to name a few. I always connected with people who had immigrated to America. Looking back, I think the connection may have happened because we were the new kids, the quite ones, well-traveled, slightly anxious. I have always been a traditional person, so that may have been a drawing point as well. Therefore we connected. It really didn’t have anything to do with language.
Unlike myself, my dad and brother have a knack for speaking Spanish. They both have Spanish-English Bibles, and are interested in missions. My brother once went to Honduras all by himself to meet with some of our parent’s missionary friends.
Deciding to publish The Tiniest Tree in a bilingual book came to me about a month before I started the process. I was speaking with staff from the Migrant Students office at the local school board, and they couldn’t stop talking about bilingual books and how important it was for migrant children (who are not all Spanish) to have bilingual books. I made the decision that day.
Two dear friends of mine, Miranda and Ruben Barrera, agreed to work on the initial translation. Then my boss agreed to edit the translation. He is the Rapides Parish Library Director, Steve Rogge, and is also a Spanish Professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I’m hoping to find one of my friends who is a native speaker that will read through the translation once the editing is complete.
Editing is quite a process! I edited the English version of The Tiniest Tree several times, and my boss still found a few mistakes in the English as he was verifying the Spanish! I’ve made the corrections and am now nearly finished with the editing process for both English and Spanish.
This weekend, my job is to finish the layout and start designing the cover!