I am pleased to introduce Ella C. Lopez. If you haven’t already met Ella, she’s an 8 and a 1/2 year-old Homeschool girl, Free-Spirit, Independent Thinker, Bookworm & Imaginative Child Author. She has joined us to share her creative writing themes surrounding a book about immigration and a struggling Mexican family.
The book was placed on her ‘homeschool reads’ shelf several years ago and she recently decided to pick it up, completing it in one sitting. It obviously moved her. After we discussed the book and some of its important themes, Ella couldn’t wait to sit down and write. After reading her post, it seemed the perfect opportunity for her to join ‘The Collaboratives’ as a child author—sharing another author’s perspective—surrounding issues currently prevalent in our world. Ella believes that what she has to say, fits in perfectly with TheJennieration.com Collaboratives because of Culture, Language, Family and Spanish.
I wholeheartedly agree.
She has become our latest Collaborative, here at TheJennieration.com.
*Important Note: There are some mature themes in the book Ella presents that may be unsuitable to younger or sensitive readers. These aspects of the book are not mentioned within her Collaborative post. They include: neglect of animals, the effects of extreme poverty on a family & the reality of politics surrounding immigration issues.
🔆Welcome Ella C. Lopez🔆
Thank you! I feel honored and excited to become a part of TheJennieration Collaboratives, sharing this post I wrote on CULTURE, LANGUAGE, LOYALTY & more.
The post was inspired by a book I read on a family’s immigration from Mexico and the culture of this family. The writer is actually an ESL teacher and author, like my mama—who said in her Acknowledgements that she thanked her students for teaching HER about “the many facets” to living life “as an immigrant”.
I am sharing three themes from the book:
〰 STAR IN THE FOREST〰
—By Laura Resau
The story was so special in my eyes. So, hopefully you’ll learn about why TheJennieration.com asked me to contribute this post to their Collaboratives. I will explain a little about this award-winning story from my descriptions in these three themes:
🐾 Culture 🐾 Friendship and 🐾 Loyalty
This book was winner of the Américas Award, the IRA Young Adult’s Book Award, and awarded Best Book of the Year by the School Library Journal and ALA-YALSA. It got other awards too.
“L👀k” down to read this post! 😀 ⬇️⬇️
THEME 1 CULTURE:
The main character’s name is Zitlally Estrella. This is a very traditional and beautiful name used by families in Mexico. You may already know that Estrella (pronounced Estraya) means: Star. Zitlally is not only a pure Mexican girl, she is kind, generous and truthful. She loves her family and has two sisters: Dalia and Reina. Zitlally and Dalia were born in Xono, Mexico— and the youngest sister Reina was born shortly after the family crossed the border from Xono, Mexico into The United States. Zitlally was ten years old during the story.
It’s funny because two years ago—my mama and I had an ESL student from Mexico, who was actually eleven years old and also named Xhitlali (but it was spelled like this instead).
Well, this Zitlally’s dad spoke: Nahuatl — the language of the Aztecs. The whole family spoke in Spanish and English. But dad always said something special to Zitlally in Nahautl. He said, “Ni-Mitz Nequi” and this means I love you. We love Aztec culture in our own family because my father has an Aztec side as well (but he is also part Spaniard). I was happy to read this, because the family loved their culture and many languages.
Zitlally’s father told the family stories about people and their soul-mate animals. He said that people would get special powers based on the animals that they had around them. So, if their pet was a deer 🦌 then they could run really fast. Or, if their pet was a wolf 🐺 then then they could smell really well. If their pet was a dog 🐩then they would have extra good hearing capabilities, and so on. Zitlally’s father also told her that sometimes what happened to the pet or animal that was close to them—would also happen to the owner—whether what the pet was going through was something good, bad, or in between.
THEME 2 FRIENDSHIP:
Zitlally likes the forest near the trailer park where she lives. It has some pretty trees
The only problem is that there is litter and “old bits-and-bobs” 🚮🗑 almost everywhere Zitlally looks. On one particular day when Zitlally went to the forest, it was a terrible day because her papa was being deported. In case you aren’t sure—this mean that a person from another country is sent back to their original country of birth. He was being deported because of getting a speeding ticket on the road when he was rushing home one day. He had gotten so excited about a fish he caught and was planning to bring home for the family dinner. The police found out he was not a legal citizen of the country and that he had no particular papers— and that was that.
The reason Zitlally was going to the forest that day was because she couldn’t focus enough to do her homework and was feeling terribly sad and lonely without her papa. Zitlally entered the forest and at once she saw a white dog under the old bumper of a car. Soon Zitlally was friends with the dog and felt so happy to have found him that very day.
At school there was a girl named Crystal. She always seemed like she wanted to be friends with Zitlally and soon that’s exactly what they became. The two girls went to the forest and Zitlally introduced Crystal to the sweet white dog there. The dog liked both the girls and was happy to have friends. They decided to name him Star because he had a little black star on the back of his white neck.
THEME 3 LOYALTY:
One day, Zitlally went to the forest with Crystal after school and they could not find Star.
He was GONE.
Zitlally was devastated and she was also shocked.
Where was Star?
The girls went from house to house searching and asking questions about Star. Zitlally and Crystal looked and looked for their sweet ★Star★.
While they were searching, she told Crystal her thoughts:
“I think that Star may be my papa’s soul-mate pet. He’s always told me about soul-mate animals and their humans- that they are somehow connected with, just like how I told you.
I think that if we can get Star back, then my papa will come safely home as well!”
Soon, with a stroke of luck some little boy told the girls that he had seen a white dog near his backyard. The girls ran to the house closest to the boy’s backyard. There, in a toolshed was Star whimpering. The moment Zitlally and Crystal saw Star, they both looked at each other and seemed to know that her papa was coming home.
When Zitlali arrived back at her home with Crystal and Star, her mama told her that papa had called with an emergency message. The emergency was that when her poor father was looking for this man called a Coyote (this is a name used for people who help immigrants cross over the boarder secretly since they are not allowed to come into the country) he was captured by some men. He had been on the look-out for these people that drove around searching for hungry looking Mexicans that were walking around near the boarder of the two countries, but he got captured and was being held for ransom. The family didn’t have a lot of money so they didn’t know what they were going to do.
Zitlally persuaded Dalia—the oldest sister— to help her take Star to the vet since their mom had to leave for work and would not be home until it was late. When Dalia saw the face of Star—she somehow immediately agreed to accompany them to the vet and make sure Star was fine after being under the shed whimpering. The visit to the veterinarian was successful and Star got all fixed up. They took him home in a wheel — Barrow. When they got back to Zitlally’s house, their mom was home, so the girls went in the house to explain all about Star and how special he was to them.
The moment that Zitlally’s mom saw Star, she also loved him, and since he was all fixed-up she would let him stay there for a little bit. The very next morning Zitlally’s father called the family. He said that the people who had captured him had somehow decided to let him go. He got out of there as fast as he could and was calling right then—as he was crossing through the state of Arizona. He told them he would be home in a day or two!😃
The day after that, Zitlally and her sweet friend Crystal had been practicing this special trick they had been teaching Star. The trick was that he sat in an old car dumped back in the forest and actually honked the horn with his paw.
All of the sudden they heard laughing!🤣 They turned and saw Zitlally’s father standing there watching and holding his sides, he was laughing so hard. He was HOME! Zitlally ran to hug him!
I “love you Zitlally!’’ papa said. “This is Crystal papa, she is my friend!’’ said Zitlally. “Hello Crystal you can come in with us if you’d like.” he said. Then he looked, studied the beautiful white dog with the black star on his furry neck and said in Spanish, “Que Bonito Perro” (what a beautiful dog).
Papa had a twinkle in his eye.
Zitlally, Crystal, papa and Star all walked into the house and the first thing Zitlally saw was a cake on the table. It said “HOLA PAPA!” and “FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS ZITLALLY!”
(Hi Papa! Happy Birthday Zitlally!)
The icing on the cake was the color of snow against a blue sky.
💜 THE END! 💜
Thanks for reading a post I am happy to share with TheJennieration,com because to me, it represents Thinking BEYOND BOARDERS and APPRECIATION of CULTURE & UNIQUENESS.
Check out the First Book in my Fantasy Trilogy Series: The Legend of Beams- on Amazon-
before Book II comes out.
Click the cover to peek inside on Amazon.
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Via: Ella C. Lopez, Daughter of: Jennifer C. Lopez- TheJennieration.com
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