The Latina Book Club welcomes author, musician and counselor Ed Cárdenas.
We admire his fortitude, his productivity and his love for his family and 16 grandchildren. It is for them that he writes and composes.
Buenos Dias! Yo soy Ed Cárdenas. I was born in Taos, New Mexico, and raised on a small farm by my maternal grandparents. Growing up in a traditional home - where the only language spoken was Spanish - my grandparents taught me old traditional virtues, like respect and cariño, which set the foundation for my chosen field of social work. I am blessed to have roots in Taos. The land has presented a serene and wholesome milieu from nature; and its amable gente, that still practices cultural virtues like respect.
Inspiration for LOVITO began in 1999, when I developed heart disease. My cardiologist told me, “only love can save you.” I asked myself, where I could find such love? The answer came from my 16 grandchildren. I spent two weeks visiting with them and absorbing their sincere cariño (tender love). Their love inspired me to leave them something of substance that they could share with their children. I prayed to the Creator to guide my writing. After two amazing weeks, 13 Lovito books were written.
The main character in the series is Lovito, a 4-year-old boy wolf. The name "Lovito" is a combination of the English word, "love," and the Spanish suffix, "ito," which translates into "Little Love" or "Amorcito". Following is a description of the series:
LOVITO is a series of 13 children’s stories that build on character and life skills. The main thread throughout the series is teaching responsible behavior by emphasizing the balance between firmness and cariño (love). The LOVITO topics include: Respect, Responsibility, Generosity, Love and Truth, Trustworthiness, Confidence, Citizenship, Humor, Communication, Patience, Goals, Fairness, and Family Love. All stories are based on old cultural dichos (proverbs) and are bilingual (Spanish and English). The series can be of benefit to children from pre-school to third grade, parents and teachers, and mental health workers.
A total of 13 books have been written in both Spanish and English. In each story, you will find at least one main dicho to support the main concept in each book. Some of the dichos in Lovito were based on the dichos I grew up with, but I researched over 2,000 dichos to select ones that best supported the concepts in each story. The books have been used in the classroom to inspire internalization of cultural virtues in students and teachers. It has successfully been used in classroom management
I recently published EL LEGADO, a young adult story. The book is written in English and reinforced by cultural dichos and Spanish vocabulary words. The following quote on EL LEGADO from the renowned author of BLESS ME, ULTIMA Rudolfo Anaya, very well describes what the book is about:
I found EL LEGADO an easy-to-read book, sprinkled with enough magic to keep the reader interested to the end. The main character, Antonio is on a journey to reclaim his Hispanic heritage. The advice Antonio’s grandfather gives him becomes his guiding light, for it is our abuelitos (grandparents) who are keepers of the culture. The book is especially relevant to today’s young Hispanos who, like Antonio, want to learn the Spanish language and the traditions of their culture.
ABOUT THE WRITING
I find it easier to write for children, as I enjoy thinking like a kid. I must also say that I really enjoyed writing for youth in EL LEGADO. I see a need for youth to retrieve their culture and heal from its loss.
My writing schedule varies. At times, I may write for hours straight for 2 weeks. At other times, I write in short spurts whenever inspired. I let the Creator guide me. I don't force things.
I write in both Spanish and English. The Lovito series is written in Spanish and English, because it is imperative that young children have access to both languages - "El que lenguas sabe dos vale por dos." I thought EL LEGADO would best reach of our youth in English as many are more proficient in it. Since the main character grieves the loss of the Spanish language, it makes sense that the story would be told from in the English language.
My favorite Latino authors are Rudolfo Anaya and Yolanda Nava. They are both very inspiring as they write about our gente from the heart. My Favorite non-Latino writer is William Glasser, MD, who presents a down-to-earth theory on mental health that is very practical to use for most cultures.
Next for me is to continue developing the Lovito Bilingual and Bicultural Training Institute. The institute trains parents, teachers, and other human service workers in how to teach and model the Lovito virtue concepts.###
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Cárdenas, LISW is a native of Taos, New Mexico and has family roots in Río Lucio. He received his Master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver where he received the Dorothea Spellman Award for his creativity in working with groups. His graduate emphasis was in working with children, treatment, community service, and social planning. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Metro State College in Denver.
Ed wrote and published the book, Beach Ball - Balancing our Relationship World. He released five of the thirteen LOVITO series books, stories that build character and life skills for children. Ed has also published EL LEGADO, a cultural retrieval novel for teenagers, and is currently in the process of publishing a book called El LIBRO DE DICHOS Y CONSEJOS, which is an accompanying book to EL LEGADO, and reinforces its concepts. Visit Ed at www.edcardenas.com.
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