Inside the Journey of 3,585 Miles to be an American Girl

For our February Book of the Month, we are pleased to showcase the wonderful, raw words of Nury Castillo Crawford. Nury is the author of the bilingual children’s book, 3,585 Miles to be an American Girl. The book was inspired by her personal journey to the United States from Peru as a child and is very timely considering the current political climate and similar story to many of those in the United States. Throughout the book, Nury explores her familial relations being tested through difficult situations, and how love and perseverance allowed her to achieve her dream.

Nury has been an educator and advocate for children for over 20 years. She is currently the Director of Academic Support for Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia and is proud to be the President of the Georgia Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

My book is a bilingual Spanish and English book that focuses on sharing a glimpse of a child’s journey as she emigrates to the USA. It is a story of family, perseverance and ultimately believing in yourself. My mission is to help inspire children to aspire higher, even amidst challenges

Nury felt that this sort of story was missing from the dual language field, as she believes that culture and language go together, and in order to become proficient in one or the other, you must learn about both. Nury sees that her mission in the field of education is to help provide access to culturally responsive resources.

As an immigrant herself, Nury based the entire premise of the book on her journey here to showcase the sacrifices parents make every day for the future of their children. With the current DACA conversation, it is important to showcase the success stories that were only made possible by the sacrifices of the parents. Nury’s book is one of the first to showcase the journey of immigration from the perspective of a child, including memories from her time in the classroom. This is relatable to many dual language students who feel similar cultural barriers upon entry to the United States.

They say that if you speak English and Spanish you can speak to 80% of the world. So, one of the many benefits of a dual language education is that you can communicate with more people. It helps build bridges

Nury’s book beautifully illustrates how language can build bridges by giving personal perspective on how immigrant families love each other and face the same struggles as families whose children were born in the United States. It bridges the gap by demonstrating how all parents simply want the best for their kids.

Nury’s book will help continue to pave the way for the success of dual language students, aiding in making our world a more accepting, diverse and bilingual place. We congratulate Nury on the success of her book and thank her for her contributions to the future of dual language education.

My entire career as an adult has been in education. I’ve seen the benefits of incorporating and providing access to culturally responsive resources. I also know how powerful it is to provide newcomers to this country with books in their native language. I want readers to understand that if you persevere and believe in yourself, anything is possible

Patricia Griselda Pérez
Author: Patricia Griselda Pérez

Dr. Patricia Pérez holds an A.A. from Ohlone College: B.A. and M.S. degree from California State University, East Bay and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. She serves as an educator, consultant and teacher coach, which provides professional development, curriculum development and multicultural awareness services to local and international educational institutions and corporations. Dr. Pérez is fluent in Spanish and began her career as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom. In the past two decades, she has developed a wide range of experience working at every level of public education, providing support to educators and directly to students. Her interest focus on promoting educational excellence through equity in order to overcome institutional barriers that confront underserved students of diverse backgrounds. Dr. Pérez is also an accomplished writer and has published in the areas of multicultural education and organizational management and leadership. She is a contributing author to Multicultural Education in Practice: Transforming One Community at a Time and Collaboration and Peak Performance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective for Emerging Leaders.

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