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An Interview with Maritere Rodriguez Bellas, An Immigrant, Dual Language Parent, & Acclaimed Author

An Interview with Maritere Rodriguez Bellas, An Immigrant, Dual Language Parent, & Acclaimed Author

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5 Min.
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Please tell us a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I came to California over 30 years ago to get my Masters' degree in Communications/PR/Journalism from Pepperdine University. I worked in Public Relations for a long time and then began writing a parenting column for La Opinión newspaper in the mid 90's. The voice of Latino parents before the online resources of today, my column, Pizarrón Familiar, ran for 12 years. At that time, I also wrote articles for the National publications SerPadres and Healthy Kids en Español. My column ran in Exito! newspaper in Chicago for 5 years. I became an author in 2014 when my first book, Raising Bilingual Children, an e-book, was published by Simon and Schuster in English and in Spanish. I began blogging around that time and my work has been featured in Huffington Post, Latina Style magazine, Alegria Bilingual Magazine, Mamasporlemundo and Todobebé. I now write regularly for ConnectHerMedia's Influence magazine and as a contributor to HipLatina.

We are all born with a bilingual brain, even multilingual, and we now believe the advantages.

Every week, I featured a Latina or Latino making a difference in my blog, www.maritererodriguezbellas.com. My second book, Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie: Raising Bicultural Children was published in print and e-book formats in English and in Spanish in 2016. My award-winning books are for the everyday, busy parent raising children with two or more languages, two or more cultures. They are filled with stories and suggestions that inspire, motivate and urge parents to stay committed to nurturing language and cultures at home. For the last three years I have participated at professional conferences as a speaker, panelist or moderator including CABE, REFORMA, and the Los Angeles Times Book Festival. This last year, I led a panel at ATDLE and La Cosecha and have already been invited to both in 2018. This last year I also joined a group of Latina authors that were invited to speak at libraries in Los Angeles, including the LA Central Library, the Huntington Library and the Pico Library in Santa Monica. On my own, I did a book talk about raising bilingual children to parents at the El Segundo Library, and at the Los Angeles Central Library about raising bicultural children. My next book is a series of three bilingual children's books, Yunito's Adventures, for ages 4-7, and finds Yunito instilling cultural pride through language and other experiences.

How are you able to manage parenting while being a successful author?

Thanks for the successful author! I appreciate that. Honestly, I delayed my book writing career until my daughter was in high school and my son in college. While they were growing up, I was very involved in their schools and their education. I still wrote my column and articles but my children were my priority. I am a big believer that when parents and teachers work together, the end result is successful children.

Continue reading to find out how Maritere balances parenting, writing and a dedication to being bilingual...

Comments

Marianna Du Bosq - February 1, 2018, 6:52 am

It's so refreshing to see many of the benefits of bilingualism being praised! There are still so many misconceptions out there and I am thankful to Maritere for reminding parents and educators that multilingualism is a tremendous asset!

Erica - February 1, 2018, 9:19 am
Such an interesting interview! She gives great tips and insights for bilingual and multicultural parenting.
Monica Lozano - February 1, 2018, 2:54 pm

Mari Bellas has informed and inspired parents and families for decades and reading this column reminded me how my children’s bilingualism brought them confidence and a sense of global connections that serve them well as adults. 

Isidra - February 1, 2018, 4:21 pm

Congrats on finding the right balance on every moment in your life. I relate to you being a "late bloomer: with your writing. I have a 15 year old and I couldn't write the last 15 years. Too busy raising him and working. 

yahaira Florentino - February 1, 2018, 4:38 pm

Maritere is a great author and know her subject very well. I´m blessed to have both of her book and met her in person. Her energy and honesty goes beyond. She is a super mom, good wife and a well knowlageble profesional. Loved this enterview. We al have to be remainded what our contribution to this country is, and how rich it is to raise children with multiple languages. 

Sonia Smith-Kang - February 1, 2018, 5:15 pm
Thank you for the insightful article. Great tips!
Mary - February 1, 2018, 6:34 pm
Great article!
Ale Graf - February 1, 2018, 6:55 pm

Me encanta como Mari  ha logrado integrar dos culturas, dos idiomas en su familia y como nos ayuda a lograrlo. Me encanta que siempre busca el angulo positivo de los obstaculos que nos podamos encontrar en el camino. Pero sobre todo me encanta como nos enseña que que la unión de los dos idiomas nos hace mas fuertes como personas, como padres y como familas.

Ale Graf - February 1, 2018, 6:56 pm

Me encanta como Mari  ha logrado integrar dos culturas, dos idiomas en su familia y como nos ayuda a lograrlo. Me encanta que siempre busca el angulo positivo de los obstaculos que nos podamos encontrar en el camino. Pero sobre todo me encanta como nos enseña que que la unión de los dos idiomas nos hace mas fuertes como personas, como padres y como familas.

Dania Santana - February 2, 2018, 2:46 pm
I love that Maritere touched on the key questions most parents have when they start their journey of bilingual parenting. She has the experience and knowledge to provide clear advice that is encouraging and easy to follow. As a colleague, I admire the work Maritere does to empower families to embrace bilingualism.

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