In honor of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, Latinas 4 Latino Literature are hosting a blog hop and giveaway. It is with great pleasure that I share a beautiful piece written by Eric Gonzalez. I was already familiar with Eric’s work because we are the proud owners of Rosita y Conchita (a book created, illustrated, and co-authored by Gonzalez) that was gifted to us by a friend with obviously great taste.
An Educational Lesson From My Dad
By Eric Gonzalez
My parents emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico before I was born. My father was a dairy worker who milked cows for a living. When we were kids, my brothers and I would sometimes go to work with him. At the time, I didn’t understand why. I figured it was to give my mother a break from us four boys running around the house breaking the few nice things she owned, or maybe to train us to be dairy workers and follow in his footsteps. As I got older, I started to understand what my dad was trying to teach us, and it wasn’t the exciting profession of milk extraction.
The life of a dairyman was hard, really hard. You had to work two shifts, one in the day and one at night. It was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. You literally had to walk around in cow poop all day and the cows tried to kick you every chance they got. It was a lot of work for not much pay. Aside from getting to spend time with our dad, my brothers and I hated it. After every workday with my dad, he would ask us sarcastically how much fun we’d had, then waited with a smile on his face for us to groan in response. He knew he wasn’t just punishing us with backbreaking labor. He knew he was implanting that ever-so important idea that every young Latino needs to know: If you get an education and follow your dreams, you don’t have to break your back for a living at a job that you hate.
I owe my dad everything for teaching me that important lesson. As an adult, I get to draw cartoons and write books for a living. I actually get paid to sit in an air conditioned office and draw characters and backgrounds for animated TV shows and then I get to go to a wonderful home with my beautiful wife and baby girl and not once step in cow poop. In my spare time, I get to write and draw books with my friends then travel around and share them with people. Although my dad has since passed on, I know that he would consider his life a complete success just knowing that I get to live a life like that.
I tell this story not to brag about the wonderful things in my life, but to hopefully instill this same idea into you as a parent or a young Latino or Latina. We must teach our children, as my dad taught me, the importance of education for the advancement of not only ourselves, but Latinos as a people. This is especially true here in the U.S. where our people are expected to take the lowest paying and most labor-intensive jobs. Latinos are known for their pride and their warrior spirit, and we must never let anything or anyone take that away from us or our children.
Eric Gonzalez was born in Corona, California to parents from Guadalajara, Mexico. He graduated with a degree in Animation from Cal State Fullerton and has worked as a designer at Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Fox. He has worked on such shows as MAD, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Class of 3000, El Tigre and Playhouse Disney’s Tasty Time With ZeFronk. He is also the creator, illustrator and co-author of the children’s book, Rosita Y Conchita. Visit his site at www.muertoons.com.
L4LL has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles (as well as the blog hop SCHEDULE) here on the L4LL website.
To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, and will be contacted via email – so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we’ll have to choose someone else!)
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.