Author urges students to pursue their dreams - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 10:10 pm

An award-winning Latina children’s author shared her passion for writing with students in the age group she writes for Wednesday morning at the Texas Southmost College Arts Center.

Some 200 students in the GEAR UP program in Brownsville schools attended a keynote address by Angela Cervantes that turned into a hands-on workshop about her newest book, “Me, Frida and the secret of the Peacock Ring.”

Cervantes’ appearance was part of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s annual Festival of International Books & Arts.

The book is due out March 27, but Cervantes brought advance copies with her to Brownsville for the students. It is the story of 12-year-old Paloma Marquez, who accompanies her mother on a trip to her father’s birth country, Mexico. Paloma quickly finds herself entangled in a mystery involving an artifact that once belonged to legendary artist Frida Kahlo.

Cervantes first told the students, all seventh-graders, how she had dreamed of writing books for children since she was a child. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of Kansas and never gave up on her dream. Eventually, she convinced the publisher Scholastic to take on her first book, “Gaby, Lost And Found.”

She told the students how it took her nine months to write that first book, that it had 45,000 words, 34 chapters and 238 pages. It wasn’t quite a book yet. It was a manuscript, but she didn’t give up. By the time she was finished it was 38,000 words and 160 pages.

Everything in a manuscript “has to be tight and good,” she said, but still she got rejected. Finally, Scholastic called her the day before Thanksgiving and she signed a contract. She urged the students to follow her example and not give up on their dreams.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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