Saturday, April 13, 2013

#L4LL “Día” Blog Hop Guest Writer F. Isabel Campoy, "Friendship"

In honor of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros - the Latinas for Latina Literature are hosting a blog hop and special giveaway. I am thrilled to host F. Isabel Campoy - sharing a lesson she learned from a autistic boy named Kio. And a beautiful poem. Enjoy. 

I have the great privilege of knowing a genius. He lives in a different continent and I cannot communicate with him in his first language, but Kio opens the window of his mind in so many ways that I have learned to understand, admire, love and value, his unique take at life through his actions.

It is a challenge for me to catch up with his level of knowledge and understanding of his fields of interest, but that is precisely what attracts me to his personality.

Kio lives in Europe and by his ninth birthday he could translate, from English, complex manuals about how things work. English by the way, is his second language.

Kio’s parents are young professionals with demanding social and economical responsibilities and Kio’s personality has been a difficult path to understand, first, and a unique opportunity for them to venture into less traditional paths for parenting and organizing family life.

Through them I became interested in knowing more about what doctor’s called his “disorder” and I have read articles, blogs, and first person narratives of professionals and parents who are part of the “Autism Spectrum Experience.” Kio belongs to the group of children who live with Aspergers.

When I was invited to write for this blog I felt I couldn’t share any intelligent opinion, first-hand experience or interesting reading advice for the growing community of families who live the Autism culture on a daily basis. At first I wanted to learn facts, figures, everything available about the field but then I realized that my approach could only be the one of a friend, teacher, children’s author, who walks along with all the parents in this path of unknowns.

There is one thing though that I can do, and that is to help raise the awareness of this community wherever I go and whenever I am speaking to teachers, parents, and children. It takes a village, yes. It takes each and every one of us to create the paths of inclusion, to share spaces and activities, no matter how new those experiences are for all, to learn to understand silence, solitude, separation, in order to create new ways of communication, care, and camaraderie.

I have reached an age in which I finally understand how precious life is. I took it for granted for sixty years and now I cannot stop admiring our human capacity to adapt and to invent, to wander and wonder and to marvel at each new turn of any living creature.

My pen is my only weapon to conquer the minds of my readers. I put it here to the disposal of the cause for insatiable hope. And let us carry a book in our hands on the way THERE. Any kind of book, as Kio has taught me.

Here is to the celebration of books and children:

Día de los niños. Día de los libros
F. Isabel Campoy

Open with care.

Laughter, fear, wonder,
forests, lions, monsters,
all hide between the covers of a book
ready to jump out and grab you
and lead you
down an endless trail of  mystery.

Get ready
to fly, to seize the power
hidden in a well-told tale.

Get ready to sail to the Moon
and back. To open the curtains wide
to a thousand stories,
dive deeply into the lives
of the wild and free.

Get ready to follow the footprints
of great adventurers
to look inside the hearts of heroes
to triumph over a zillion dangers
and end up as the hero
of your own epic tale.

Proceed with caution.
Rich rewards await for those who dare.

F. ISABEL CAMPOY is the author of numerous children’s books in the areas of poetry, theatre, stories, biographies, and art. As a researcher she has published extensively bringing to the curriculum an awareness of the richness of the Hispanic culture. She is an educator specialized in the area of literacy and home school interaction, topics on which she lectures nationally. Her extensive writing, of over 150 titles, has been recognized with the Laureate Award from San Francisco Public Library, the Reading the World Award, the Junior Library Guild Award, among others. She is a member of the American Academy of Poets as well as of several organizations for the advancement of multicultural awareness and world peace.

The Giveaway

L4LL has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles (as well as the blog hop SCHEDULE) here on the L4LL website.

To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th. The winner will be chosen using and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, and will be contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we'll have to choose someone else!)

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.