The other day I received an e-mail from a teacher who bought ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature for his class. I was more than happy to send him the book and thrilled to learn he was getting it not for himself but for his students. He told me that the book made an impact on one of his kids and it made my day. Here’s what he said:
“At the end of class on Friday, one of my kids approached me and said he was uncomfortable talking about immigration, because of how personally he takes it and how he doesn’t really know how to think about his identity since he’s undocumented. His eyes lit up when he started reading the book.”
For me, that’s what this stuff is all about. I see a lot of cats out there chasing the dream and while that’s cool, it’s nice to know that your work is making a difference, no matter the scale. For a kid like that to find something in a book that he/she can relate to, draw inspiration from or let them know that they are not alone, that’s why I’m here.
When I published ¡Ban This! my intent was to strike back at the ignorance and the power structure in Arizona. Put simply: I published that book for those kids, nothing more, nothing less. It was a way to say, “You can ban our books but never our hearts, our minds nor our souls.” Poetic but true.
Yes, accolades are nice (I suppose) as are awards and press and sales and everything that people might think being an author is about. But for me, to be able to reach regular folks and make some kind of an impact on them, well, that’s the kind of stuff one thinks about when just starting out on this road. And I’m still there.
I’m honored to able to do this. Thank you to educator, Dan Thalkar for sharing the book with his students and sharing that story. It means everything.