Crafting hope

For all picture books hope is important. For a writer’s life hope runs in and out, ebbs and flows. Our job is to catch it and form a story with it. In my life I see hope in the eyes of the children I work with, but in the picture book stories I write I tend to lean on self-actualization. Opps! here I go again using my tools without explaining them. So in school we learned that most (not all) picture books can be categorized by using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory. (Thank you Hamline!) Which is a great tool to see what is your story is about.

My question is: How I can infuse more hope in my story of self-actualization? I think that hope is a super-duper important element in picture books but for Chicano/Latino Picture Books—should hope be cultural?

Besides the name of the character and the Spanish that I incorporate in the dialog, I want to build that cultural arch with a hope that C/L (I will use C/L to denote Chicano/Latino) children will relate too. If there are any kids that can smell out a fake attempt it’s C/L kids they are super wise about false advertising. They have lived with oxymoron’s like Taco Bell, Cinco de Mayo, and Whey or way! Much like the sentiment in Stand and Deliver, we (as writers for C/L kids) need to be the best. And the only way to be the best is doing our homework.


Back to hope what are some cultural aspects of hope specific to C/L kids?

Just from the top of my head:



Una Ficha (a bottle cap)

Carritos (old school low rider model cars-lots of C/L boys have them)

Tu trenza (your braid)

Una Olla de frioljes (pot of freshly cooked beans)

a Chihuahua

Flags (Mexican and American or Puerto Rican and US?)

heels (for tween girls)

A party

Quince fiesta

a hope for a parent to get a job

a hope to be reunited with parents after deportation

a hope to get on the honor roll because your parents were the first to graduate from college

a hope to live in a bigger house

a hope to be a good pet to a hamster and then maybe be able to have a dog later

a hope to be able to stay in an apartment and not move again so that they can keep their pet

a hope to have a pet

hmmmmm you might have guessed my pb is about having a pet!

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have learned something as I have from doing this little exercise!

Gracias, and Keep writing and Sigue para adelante porque nuestro trabajo corre llejos!


**A painting I did for inspiration!


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