Author Spotlight: Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri

Rubber Shoes… A Lesson in Gratitude by Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri is a children’s book which tells the tale of young Gladys Elizabeth. Gladys learns her first lesson of humility and gratitude at a ripe age, after her mother is unable to afford the shoes that Gladys has set her young, little heart on and buys her “ugly rubber shoes”. Gladys’s mother, however, finds a great way in helping Gladys appreciate what she has and in the end young Gladys learns a valuable lesson. Rubber Shoes… A Lesson in Gratitude received the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Latinitas had the honor to meet and interview Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, here’s what she had to say about her life as an author:

Latinitas: Tell us about yourself.

Gladys: “When I was studying at the University of San Francisco, one of my favorite things was to look out my window and see the glorious Golden Gate Bridge. And it is in this great city that my family’s American life began.  In the early 1950’s las tías-abuelas came to San Francisco with a clear vision to lay down strong roots in this country. My mom later immigrated from El Salvador and my dad from Nicaragua. I was raised in a home where education was considered an invaluable gift. Being in excellence, both in character and in one’s work were daily reminders at the dinner table.  That’s probably why I work best when there is routine and structure. I am eternally grateful to my parents and family friends who were active participants in my childhood. I enjoy spending time with people who make me laugh out loud and as my dad calls them, los locos, the dreamers of life.”

Latinitas: How did you become an author?

Gladys: “My dad has always told me that I was a writer. Any time I wrote something, whether for school or for fun I would share my writing with him. Yet I never thought of myself as a writer. Thankfully, I’m finally getting to the place where I think perhaps I am a writer.  What I’m learning is that if you enjoy singing and you sing on a choir, then you are already a “singer”.  Or if you enjoy painting then you are already an “artist”. In other words, instead of waiting to “make it” so to speak, I just woke up and started sharing my writing to more people. And to my surprise, it’s been working out quite nicely.”

Latinitas: What did you do to prepare for this career?

Gladys: “This answer is tied to the response above.  I didn’t set out to become an author. However, in the last few years I started writing and sharing with more people and then things just started snowballing from there. I read lots of articles, mostly dealing with education. If the article really gets me going I share my thoughts with the people who I feel are supportive of me via email. My friends call it my “pseudo blog”.”

Latinitas: What is your favorite part of being an author?

Gladys: “So far my favorite part is sharing with little people, particularly with my first grade students. When Rubber Shoes was just a word document I read the story to them several times and I had them illustrate it. I’ve done the same with my second book, Pink Fire Trucks (coming summer 2013) and when I see how excited they get, I then get inspired to write more stories. It’s a symbiotic relationship where I fuel their creativity and they in turn fuel mine. I enjoy sharing the creative process with them because I feel that teachers have lost the freedom to teach using more creative avenues like art, music, dance and movement.”

Latinitas: What is the most challenging part of being an author?

Gladys: “I wish I had more time to write. My brother in law told me of a famous and established Latina author who goes to her “writing house” to write. WOW! I would love to have that kind of life!”

Latinitas: What advice would you give to help a girl prepare to be an author?

Gladys: “Join groups where you can hone your writing skills. Keep a writing journal and set time aside to write. Also, volunteer to intern for the local paper or TV station. Read lots of books and materials, start a blog or a “pseudo blog” and share your views and commentaries with your friends and family. In the story PINK FIRE TRUCKS the big message is to do things with heart. It will make for a happy soul. But most importantly, enjoy the process without any expectations.”

Latinitas: What do you do for fun when you aren’t working? What volunteer projects do you do?

Gladys: “When I was cool and younger I would go dancing Wednesday through Sunday! These days I fall asleep by 10:30 p.m., so quiet dinners with loved ones and great conversation is fun. I jog which relaxes me and I recently started up yoga again. Now I’m on a mission to be a yoga star. As for volunteering, I don’t necessarily volunteer but I do donate proceeds of Rubber Shoes to the reading intervention program where I work.  I went to a workshop where I declared that I wished I had oodles of money to do philanthropic work in the field of early literacy. I was told to start giving, even if it’s just peanuts because the positive energy behind giving makes things happen.  I also participate in Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California events.  Their mission is to promote literacy and motivate children to read by building at-home libraries for underserved children in Greater Los Angeles. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to give oodles and oodles of money to the organizations that I admire.”

Latinitas: Why did you choose the lesson of gratitude for your book?

Gladys: “Rubber Shoes is based on a true event that happened when I was a little girl and in this story I learned a powerful lesson in gratitude.  Still, I sometimes forget how perfectly wonderful my life is just the way it is.  It seems that when I start to complain, everything falls apart, mostly because I keep looking at situations with a pessimistic eye.  When I live in a state of gratitude, things tend to fall in place and situations get better”


Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri’s upcoming book, PINK FIRE TRUCKS, comes out this summer.

Book Review: Getting Beyond “Whatever”

Our main form of communication is verbal. The way we express ourselves with our word choice expresses who we are. Dr. Shale Preston’s book, Getting Beyond Whatever, explains how teenagers use the specific word, “whatever,” to show an apathetic attitude towards life. Getting Beyond Whatever creates different outlets for a new way of thinking. It begins with A for Affirmations, or positive statements, then goes through the whole alphabet while using affirmations toward describing positive values.

About the Author:
Before delving into the content of the book, Shale Preston, PhD, is equipped and accredited in lecturing on self-development, spirituality and literature. Preston’s doctorate is in English Literature, and she holds the title of honorary associate at Macquarie University’s English Department in Sydney,  Australia.

From A -Z
The English professor creates a way for the reader to go through the book whenever the need for encouragement occurs. From looking up something directly or reading the book from its introduction to its notes, the reader will find guidelines that help with the content of the book. By breaking up the sections with inspirational words representing each letter  of the alphabet, the audience can gain a better reading experience to channel into their lives.

Adios, whatever!
The book revolves around different ways to express yourself without using the word whatever. Preston advises the reader to first tackle the affirmations for yourself, then pass them on to others. Some of my favorite or most interesting letters of the alphabet described in the book are those that deal with social, spiritual, economical, work ethics, love, and the self. For example, Preston describes N for Name, and advises to call people by their names, then adds an explanation stating how “people are so much more responsive when you call them by their names.” Preston uses G for Give and explains “give to yourself and to others” urging the reader to create more comfortable surroundings.
The spiritual take on the book includes L for listening to the universe and M for Meditate. Both help the reader become in tune with themselves. From an economical perspective, Preston describes the importance of life through S for saving and J for Jettison, or letting go of all the material possessions you don’t need. For her work ethic advice, Preston describes O for own, and tells the reader to own a task and see through its completion, even if it’s small.
When working on yourself and others, Preston proposes to first have love, in a sense of dealing with respect. She uses E to Embrace who you are, and encourages reading, labeled under R, and exercise labeled under Workout. With the help from many of these affirmations, Preston’s optimistic intent is understood as she uses various popular culture and  media references.

Preston uses Media influences to help create an optimistic mindset with Instances of Whatever in the media that possibly helped shape society. The movie Clueless, popular 90’s movie of a California valley girl, although not mentioned in the book, comes to mind because the audience can tell the character’s emotional ride as a teenager is being covered by the simple use of whatever accompanied by an eyeroll. Preston stresses the importance of social interaction and its effect on your emotions.  The way you choose to communicate with another person shows a lot about your character. The more you use apathetic communication the more confused emotions build up inside and can possibly ruin relationships.

When asked about her use of the word whatever and if there was another way to express it, Melissa Rivas replied, “I don’t think so, it’s [whatever] such a natural word to say, it goes with any situation.”

Bianca Castrejon commented on why some teens use the word by stating, “maybe they have something else to say when they want to seem indifferent.”

Getting Beyond Whatever helps the reader create tools to better their self-esteem and widen their relationships with others. The introduction states, “The kindest thing that we can do for ourselves and by extension others is to think and speak words which are positive and life enhancing.” There are many ways to get out of a slump, and the first is to work out is how you see yourself and relate it to the way you see the world.

Book Review: A Kid’s Guide To Latino History

I call myself a Latina because I am of Mexican descent, but Mexican history and traditions are the extent of my Hispanic knowledge. Of course there are the commonly known events in Latino culture which may make into textbooks or common knowledge among Americans such as Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, the fact that the Portuguese in the official language in Brazil, and Puerto Rico’s music. If you’re not taking a Latin American course or something of the like, the confines of your national heritage will most likely be all you that know. There are so  many Latin American countries out there with so much rich history, making it difficult to fully know every detail. Our Latino culture is what connects many of us and that is why knowledge of more than one country can benefit and help us move forward as a minority. Valerie Portillo is the author of A Kid’s Guide to Latino History, which is a text book for children that incorporates mostly every aspect of Latino history, culture, and its impact on the United States and the world. There are ten chapters and each of them contains a brief history, important events, traditions, celebrations, fun facts, translations, and do it yourself crafts for kids!
A Kid’s Guide to Latino History helped me realize how different Latin American cultures and traditions are while still having many similarities. The book highlights many recipes, crafts, holiday traditions and cultural celebrations that reflect the diverse Latino community. In the book, we learn how to make arroz con leche (rice with milk, pudding) described as a Dominican dessert. I grew up eating arroz con leche in a Mexican household. I also remember making bread figurines that are described as Ecuadorian. The cultural mesh the book introduces can be applied to all aspects of a Latin American lifestyle where we can all learn and take from each other. Although there are so many traditions, crafts and recipes to be shared and learned, each country still has their own distinct culture and their own way of doing things. For example, we learn how Hondurans created their own game with seeds, Mexicans have their own form of bingo, and Nicaraguans have their own type of dance.
My favorite parts of the book are the well explained history lessons that were easy to follow. We learn about the people of the native lands, the Spanish invasions of practically every Latin country and the country’s attempt to take back their land. The reader also learns more about the relationship between the US and Latin America. For example, it was interesting to find out how communism impacted many Latin American countries. Although the idea of communism is said to have come from Europe and was made to be seemingly harmless, there was a political misuse of the concepts in some countries.
The US began using force to keep communism out of its neighboring lands, helped put down many revolutions, and fought a guerrilla warfare. After many of these Latin American countries were left in economic despair, people began migrating north to the US in search of a safer and more comfortable life. We then learn how each country assimilated into the US and how many different boroughs and neighborhoods created a cultural niche. Much like the diverse Chinatowns existing around the US, I learned that places such as Washington Heights and Calle Ocho began blossoming as a safe haven for many Latin American Immigrants.The book displays the progression of Latin American Countries and their association to the US in a hands-on and entertaining way. I would recommend A Kid’s Guide to Latino History to any elementary teacher or family member who is interested in learning about history, and the history of Latin America; it was definitely a great and educational read.

Book Review: Marcelo in the Real World

Book Review by Alexis Garcia

What is the title of the book you are reviewing?
Marcelo in the Real World.

Who is the author of the book?
Francisco X. Stork.

What would you rate the book?
5 stars: Excellent book!

What is this book about? (Tell us about the theme of the book and major highlights. Please don’t give away the ending!)
Well the book centers around a 17-year-old Mexican boy named Marcelo with an autism spectrum disorder. In this book, Marcelo is forced to work in his overbearing father’s law firm because his father wants him to adapt to the “real world,” instead of working with ponies like Marcelo wanted to. A lot of crazy things happen in this story. A lot of the characters belittle Marcelo because they find him stupid, even though he is actually smart. Marcelo soon faces many obstacles and becomes close friends with a woman named Jasmine who shares a love for music like he does. Marcelo has a special way of hearing music.

What did you like about the book?
I like how the book was told from Marcelo’s perspective, his imagery and the fact that he speaks in the third person. I also like the closeness between him and Jasmine. She is almost overprotective of him. I like how Marcelo changes and grows throughout the story and learns how to stand up for himself, and make his own decisions.

Who was your favorite character in the book and why?
Automatically, I liked Marcelo. But I also liked Jasmine. She was rude, stubborn, and kept to herself mostly in the beginning. Throughout the story Marcelo grew on her and she began to open up to him. She even took him camping, and I just believed that they were extremely cute together. I like how she tried to make him feel as comfortable as possible.

What didn’t you like about the story or the writing style?
Well I can’t say what I didn’t like about the book because then it would reveal part of the ending.

What other books would you recommend?
I would also recommend The Boy Who Couldn’t Die by William Sleator.

Start It Up Book Review

Good news for all you Latinitas out there who aspire book cover start it upto be ambitious businesswomen, entrepreneurs, marketing experts, CEOS, or who just want to make more money. You don’t have to wait until after college to turn your talents and ideas into hard-earned cash. You can start today! The Start It Up! business handbook for teens by Kenrya Rankin gives you the essential tools and information needed to create your own business.

Not sure what services or merchandise you could possibly offer? No problem. Rankin includes a quiz to help you identify what your skill sets might be. Throughout the book, Rankin will guide you on how to, not only get your business started, but how to network and gain support, manage your money, be a boss, use your business to do good and more!

Through her tips, worksheets, online resources, informational charts, and real-life testimonials from teenage entrepreneurs, Rankin not only makes owning a business an exciting venture, but a doable one as well. Whether you’re bored at your regular job or your allowance just isn’t cutting it these days, Start It Up! is sure to promote you to business savvy in under 160 pages.

Book Review: Dear Bully

Dear Bully is a book by Megan Kelley Hall & Carrie Jones. This book was inspired by a tragic event that happened on January 14, 2010 related to bullying.  That year in Massachusetts (hometown of the author of the book) a girl name Phoebe Prince committed suicide after months of being bullied by nine students of South Hadley High School. When this news came out, Megan Kelley was shocked to see how far all this bullying has gone. She decided to bring different authors together and tell their stories about how they were bullied, being a bully or witness bullying.

This book speaks for itself. Megan Kelley and Carrie Jones wrote an amazing book that is full of emotional, interesting, sad, and shocking stories about bulling. The 70 authors in this book have shared their stories; some are heartbreaking, others are more uplifting. This book makes you feel stronger the more you read it.

There are a lot of different stories that will shock you and even make you feel bad for that person. This book has stories not only about girls, but guys as well that were bullied when they were younger.

The story from Marlene Perez is kind of similar to the Mean Girls movie. One day she found one of her friend’s books, forgotten at the school gym.  It was called a “slam book” and it was filled with people talking about other people (including her). When she opened it, she found out that a lot of people were talking about her and making things up. What hurt her most was when she recognized the handwriting of her “friend” in that book talking about how she had big boobs, but such a small brain. She felt hurt and betrayed to see how this person whom she thought was her friend showed her true colors. Marlene couldn’t stop thinking of how she thought they were friends but in reality, weren’t. When her friend came, she had a look of panic on her face. Marlene asked if she lost something, but she said she didn’t. Marlene then said, “Yeah, I thought I lost something, too, turns out I never even had it!”

There’s also stories like Grace, where she thought love existed. This story tells how Grace faced the fake side of what she thought was her love. Gabe was her boyfriend of over 8 months; they spent pretty much all their time together at her house playing, laughing, and taking sexy pictures of themselves with their phones to send them to each other when they were away. She was away on a trip with her parents when she started seeing pictures of her boyfriend with other girls at parties. A couple of days passed and Gabe wasn’t answering her text messages; girls who appeared on the pictures with him started friend requesting Grace on Facebook and posting really mean words on her wall such as “fat,” “ugly,” and “skank.” These girls were saying they saw her naked pictures in her boyfriend’s phone. She was sad and couldn’t stop crying; she hated herself for everything. All she could think was, “I can’t believe that I trusted stupidly in Gabe.”

Stories like these can be similar to events that we may be living through this moment. This book is perfect for someone who is being bullied, being the bully, or a witness. Young people and adults need to read Dear Bully because it actually teaches a lot about the subject. This book shows that you are not alone, that there are people out there who you can turn to for help and that you should not let yourself down.  It’s a very powerful book that will have anyone who reads it wondering how they can get help.

Dear Bully captures the stories of 70 famous authors.  These people were bullied and survived to become successful people now. Their traumatic bulling experiences are left behind, but they made them who they are today. If they became successful after their bullying experience, then others can learn from this and overcome their obstacles as well.  Bullying happens because we see others as more powerful than we are.  There is something stronger than any punch in the face; a rumor or being called a name can sting just as badly. Your voice can help you stop a bully.  Speak loudly, stand up for yourself, encourage yourself to be brave and don’t let anyone bring you down.

Meet Author Melinda Palacio

Working in the journalism world with a steady career, Melinda Palacio felt there was more for her to do in life. When moving to Arizona, her aspiration to become a novelist became a reality.

“Writing found me. I have worked as a reporter, a writing instructor, an editor, and various other jobs before I decided to dedicate myself to writing,” said author Melinda Palacio.

Before beginning her writing career, Palacio earned two degrees, a Bachelor’s from Berkeley in Comparative Literature and a Masters from UC Santa Cruz.

Palacio admits that despite her skills and experience she faced difficulties in the novel-writing process. When writing “Ocotillo Dreams,” there were moments when she would feel lost.

Palacio got involved with the program PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. This prestigious literary fellowship helped her gain necessary skills and the confidence she needed. It helped her finish her first draft for her novel.

She encourages others to strive to do better and to do what they love. “Read a variety of books and subjects. Write in your journal if only for a few minutes every day. Do what you love and experience life to the fullest,” said Palacio.

When Palacio is not writing or reading, she can be seen doing other things she loves like “listening to music, dancing, reading, spending time with friends and family.”

To catch a copy of her novel, “Ocotillo Dreams” check out your local library or her website:

Author: The Pregnancy Project

Why would a teen pretend to be pregnant?  Gaby Rodriguez got a movie and book deal to share her story of how she pretended to be pregnant. If you haven’t already read The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez, I suggest you get your happy self down to the nearest library or bookstore and do so!  It’s one of those books that you will read cover to cover without putting it down.  Living in a small town where teen pregnancies are nothing out of the ordinary, Gaby was sick of the low expectations her community has for young girls and the belief that a girl’s “life is over” if she gets pregnant.  For her senior project, Gaby wanted to do something that would make an impact in her community.  She decided to conduct a social experiment in which she would fake a pregnancy for six months and record reactions from friends, teachers and family.  At the end of her senior year, she revealed her secret to her family and the entire student body that she was in fact not pregnant.  Her book documents her experience in faking her pregnancy.  Never in her wildest dreams did she think it would attract such a phenomenal amount of attention that would land her a book and movie deal with the Lifetime Network!  It’s been one year since the big reveal and Latinitas was able to catch up with author Gaby Rodriguez to see how her life has changed and what she’s currently up to these days.

What were your reasons behind faking your pregnancy?
“I wanted to fake my own pregnancy because being in a family with teen mothers and also seeing it an issue in my school and community, I wanted to bring awareness about sex education but also be that voice for teens who were told they weren’t going to do anything with their life.”
Why was faking a pregnancy important to you?
“Faking my own pregnancy was important to me because I felt that it would be something more real for my peers and community members around me rather than just surveying other teen moms or evaluating the teen shows already out there.”
What do you think young Latinas can learn from the project and the book?
I believe that Latinas can learn that no matter what we as a culture are stereotyped as we can overcome anything and fight for our goals. We can be united together not only to improve our future, but also the future of so many around us.
Do you feel the project made an impact? Why or why not?
“I do believe my project made a huge impact not only in my school, but also in the outer community. I believe this because of being able to hear so many stories of people who learned from my project and who have been impacted by my story.”

How has life changed since the big reveal?
“I don’t think life is ever going to be normal again.  I still do some speaking at conferences regarding the book.  I still get so many people Facebooking, messaging and emailing me telling me what they were able to learn from it.  I even got a letter from a middle school where the students were required to read [my] book.  So I don’t think life will ever be quite the same.”

What’s the best part about that?
“I get to reach out to so many different audiences and get their perspective on the book and everything that they were able to learn from it.”

Did this project change your relationship with your family?
“The relationship with my brothers and sisters pretty much stayed the same.  We occasionally keep up with each other, especially with me being away.  Me and my mom are strong as always and I try to go down every weekend and visit her.  So it’s pretty much the same.”

Do you still keep in touch with your best friend, Saida?
“We still keep in touch, but we both went an hour in opposite directions of our hometown.  We try to keep in contact through Facebook and  keep each other updated.”

Tell us about school.  Are you liking college?
“I do like it, a lot.  I go to Columbia Basin College and am majoring in Psychology. I will be here two years and then transfer to Washington State University in Pullman. There’s so many opportunities.  You just have to inform yourself because there are so many different things you can get more involved in than you ever could in high school.”

What made you pick that major?
“The topic of the human mind intrigues me so much.  I’ve always been interested in sciences and understanding and interacting with humans.  Doing the project gave me so much more insight into the field.  I love my classes.

What do you do for fun?
“I hang out with friends and family.  I try to keep that connection with my family strong.”

Any volunteering or organizations that you are involved in at your university?
“I’m currently a member of the Latino Culture Club where we embrace the roots of the Latino culture.  We do events like blood drives.  We are currently planning an event for Cinco de Mayo.  We incorporate that with volunteer work and engaging the community into the different events that we plan.”

What are your plans for the future beyond college?
“I plan on pursuing my doctorate degree in Psychology, but am still deciding on whether I want to pursue a career in Child Psychology or Forensic Psychology.  I’m exploring my options.”

What’s your favorite book?
“I have a couple of favorites.  All the series that Ellen Hopkins writes like Burned, Impulse, Crank, and Glass.  I haven’t had a chance to read her latest books but they’re on my list.  Also, A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer.  Getting the quote from him on the back cover of my book was absolutely amazing.”

How would you describe yourself in three words?
“I’m outgoing, I take initiative in what needs to be done, I’m appreciative of life and everything it has given me.”

Favorite place in the whole wide world and why?
“Texas.  Just for the fact that a lot of my family originates in Texas and I enjoy my family roots and the environment.  My mom always wants to go so I hope in the future I can provide more trips for her.”

Who is your hero and why?
“It would absolutely be my mom. Just because she is such a strong woman, she has been through so much in her life and she still continues each and everyday with the brightest outlook on life.  And going through what she’s gone through, it’s amazing to me and I try to have that same outlook no matter what I go through in my life.”

What makes you proud to be a Latina?
“Everything.  No matter what brings us down in this life, Latinas fight for what we want in life.  We fight for our goals, we have so many strong Latinos across the culture that embrace the culture and fight for our dreams.”

What advice would you give to young Latinas?
“Never give up on your dreams.  You can push forward and amount to anything you put your mind to. The overall message I want to communicate is no matter the circumstance we have to embrace the help around us and fight for our goals because as Latinas we are strong women that can change the world.”

Books: Amigas Fifteen Candles

A hip, coming of age book, Amigas: Fifteen Candles by Veronica Chambers, tells the tale of four friends who spend the summer sharing quite a few interesting adventures, struggles, as well as finding success in their party planning business. This is a lively book, culturally influenced with Latin roots. It is a fun read that connects to most young teens today.

The story takes place in South Beach Miami, Florida. The main character is 15-year-old Alicia, who is popular in school as well as her three best friends. Her posse includes: Carmen, Jaime and Gaz. Carmen is a unique designer. Jamie is known as the “James Bond of fashion” because this New Yorker has a style worth mentioning. She is always hip when it comes to hair, make-up and clothes. Gaz is the only male in the group. He is in a band and is the questionable love interest of  Alicia. The characters are all different and highlighted for their own talents which I feel is an element that helps hook the reader into the characters and story.

Throughout the story, action flows smoothly and not too lengthy which is a plus for me. A great thing about the book is that it encourages girls to reach their goals, lend out a hand and be open-minded.

I believe young girls can relate to the characters, like Alicia. As you get to know more about her, you find out she is not “perfect” as she can seem. In the story, you find out she did not have a Quinceañera and despite it she did not let that stop her from lending out a hand.  Thanks to her and her friend’s help, they were able help plan  Sarita’s Quinceañera, as one to remember.

The book highlights lows and highs, lessons learned, overcoming struggle, maintaining one’s ego, building teamwork and strengthening friendship. I recommend this book to those who are looking for a fruitful read, especially for one of those relaxing days.

Soul Surfer

Vea este artículo en español aquí

soul_surfer movie poster

It may sound incredibly cliché, but there is only one word to describe the novel “Soul Surfer” – inspirational. Bethany Hamilton’s tragic but incredibly rousing story will without a doubt lift your spirits. Since the novel is written by Bethany, reading it feels as if you are simply having a conversation with her over lunch. The novel is incredibly personable and a pleasure to read.

October 31, 2003 was the day tragedy struck. Bethany was out with a friend surfing off the north coast of Kauai, Hawaii when suddenly she felt something passing under her board. Then, came the dreadful attack that almost killed her – a shark attack. Had the shark bitten slightly higher and hit a major artery, Bethany would not have made it. As it was, she lost roughly about 60% of her blood by the time she reached the hospital. The novel is filled with the full and vivid descriptions of this entire account along with how she dealt with recovering losing her arm in a shark attack and almost dying.

It took several months for Bethany to adjust to her new lifestyle and re-learning how to do things. Having one arm made even the simplest of things a little bit harder like tying her shoes or putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. One thing she was certain she would not give up though was her passion for surfing. Her parents surf, her siblings surf, her friends surf, and she had been in love with surfing since a small age; to Bethany there was no quitting. In an interview to Mirror magazine UK Bethany said,“For me, the idea of not being able to surf was definitely scarier than the idea of getting back in the water after I lost my arm. To not surf again would be impossible.” Bethany’s story is extraordinary because even though she was “disadvantaged” her drive and conviction lead her to win numerous surfer competitions. Her misfortune also managed to bring her so much closer to God and renewed her faith.

Now the writer of a best seller and with the release of a movie based around her life ,without a doubt Bethany Hamilton is a good role model for young girls. Her story promotes that you truly can do anything you put your mind to. Although the odds were against her, she triumphed and has won many national titles in competitive surfing. Still to this day, she surfs and enjoys her life to the fullest. The novel is a motivating account filled with real life pictures of a young girl who fought tooth and nail to achieve her dreams.

May 2011

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