Today, we're sharing an interview between Musas Ana Siqueira and Gloria Amescua, to celebrate Gloria's debut picture book, Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua. Scroll on to learn more about Gloria's inspiration, future writing plans, and more!
Ana: Gloria, thanks for allowing me to read your wonderful book. What an inspirational story about being proud of your culture and showing the same to the world! I also love the lively illustrations by Duncan Tonatiuh.
First of all, can you tell us what inspired you to write about Luz Jiménez?
Gloria: Thank you for loving our book, Ana. I was inspired when I happened upon a pamphlet about Luz Jiménez and realized I had never thought about the models in paintings and their lives. As I read about her, I was amazed by her life and knew I had to write about her. She was an intelligent and curious little Nahua girl, who wanted to become a teacher, and though she had many struggles throughout her life, she became a very important link between the indigenous people of Mexico and the rest of the world. She came to represent the dignity of the native people in Mexico through the famous 20thth artists who painted her and the Náhuatl language she helped preserve with scholars as it was fading, becoming a teacher after all.
I connected with Luz on a very personal level. When the Mexican government made school mandatory, the indigenous students were shamed about their native language and clothing. The same shaming of Spanish in the US and punishment for speaking Spanish in school affected how I grew up.
Ana: And I have a question about your author’s note, you wrote her name was Julia Jiménez, but she’s known as Luz Jiménez. Do you know the reason for that?
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