Book Description

This book includes the biographies of three very different individuals, each a remarkable contributor to her/her society.

People who are dedicated to improving the lives of others possess special qualities: José Martí, Frida Kahlo, and César Chávez are three such people. This book explores their lives and shows the ways in which each of them contributed to change the world.

Author’s Note

José Martí, extraordinary writer and exceptional human being, liked to say “Honrar, honra” implying that when we honor those who deserve it, we somehow partake of the honor. His message that it is important to honor those who have open roads that we now travel has inspired this biography series.

Isabel and I would like children to realize that the people we admire earned that admiration as they faced life with courage and dignity, determined not to be stopped by difficulties, but consistently following their dreams.

It is our great hope that children will recognize that humble beginnings or physical limitations, while creating unquestionable challenges, should not be seen as impossible barriers, and that these biographies will be for them an inspiration.


The three figures whose biographies form this book have been very influential in my own life, and for that reason they appear in multiples places in my work.

José Martí – Readers of Martí biography will also enjoy reading his poetry. Some examples can be found in English and Spanish in the books Chuchurumbé or Flying Dragon. The inspiring poem, Los dos príncipes, appears in Rios de lava and La niña de Guatemala in Huertos de coral. Tiene el leopardo un abrigo in La rama azul. The story in verse Los zapaticos de rosa is included in El son del sol, number 10 in the Collection Música amiga and in the accompanying CD of the same title, with music and voice by Suni Paz.

La rosa blanca, one of the best known poems by Martí is in El camino de tu risa, number 9 in the Collection Música amiga and in the accompanying CD of the same title, sang by Suni Paz.

Additional poems can be found in the anthology Días y días de poesía organized in a calendar format with a poem for each day of the year.

Fryda Kahlo – One of Fryda’s self-portraits can be enjoyed in Brush and Paint or Brocha y pincel, another in the interactive journal Pencils or Pinceles. In Canvas and Paper or Lienzo y papel there is a painting by Frida’s husband, Diego Rivera. In Blue and Green or Azul y verde there are two more of Rivera’s paintings which can also be appreciated in the interactive journal Colors or Colores.

César Chávez – The life of César Chávez is tied to the Migrant Farm Workers struggle. Thus an interesting connection would be the biography of Luis Valdés which appears in Voices or Voces, another book of this series.

In Gathering the Sun, an alphabet book of poems, written in honor of the Farm Workers, there is a poem to César Chávez. It can also be listened to, turned into a powerful song by Suni Paz, in the CD of the same title.

A simple poem to César Chávez appears in Días y días de poesía:

César Chávez
Alma Flor Ada

César, amigo del campesino,
César, que dignificas nuestra labor.
César, abriendo siempre nuevo camino,
César, para el honrado trabajador.

“Teatro campesino: ¡Qué florezca la luz!” en Imágenes del pasado is a reflection about the Teatro canpesino and the Migrant Farm Workers experience.

Gathering the Sun/ Puertas al sol Collection Description

This collection highlights the genius, the tenacity and the achievement of Hispanic culture. For Hispanic readers, the collection promotes pride in their culture; for non-Hispanic readers, it fosters an appreciation and an acknowledgment of—and a respect for—Latinos. The collection comprises the following 6 series. Each book and journal is published in separate editions in English and in Spanish.

Poetry Series Gateways to the Sun

These poetry anthologies are divided in sections featuring poets from various countries from the Spanish speaking world. The sections open with original poems by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy celebrating the poets and the poet’s country of origin. Selected poems by the featured poet completes each section. The contribution of Latinos is acknowledged as well as that of the anonymous poets who created the rhymes of the traditional folklore, enriching our heritage.

Art Series Gateways to the Sun

A wide variety of genres, techniques, media, and historical events in Hispanic art are depicted in these oversize strikingly beautiful books. Each book includes reproductions of paintings selected from the best Hispanic artists of all times, from classical to contemporary. Each painting is accompanied by brief poetic readings.

Each book is paired with an interactive journal where children can learn more about art and begin their own artistic expressions.

Biography Series Gateways to the Sun

This series offers the biographies of twelve significant figures from various countries in the Spanish-speaking world, representing various fields and occupations. These historical and contemporary figures are role models, who overcame obstacles to make a difference in the world.


Theater Series Gateways to the Sun

Theatrical adaptations of well known stories and folktales as well as original plays are enhanced by beautiful art. The illustrations, by several Hispanic artists, suggest costumes, props and stage designs to help on the staging of the play

Language Series Gateways to the Sun

These fractured fairy tales books bring new twists to the lives of well-loved characters from storybooks. They provide ample opportunities for language development as they use diverse forms of language.

Hispanic Lands Series Gateways to the Sun

Three oversize books on the richness and diversity of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas. The poetic, but highly informative text, brings attention to the extraordinary achievement of the indigenous people. The striking illustrations are carefully designed by Maestro Felipe Dávalos. They offer ample information to support and enrich the text that reflects on the responses of human groups to the challenges of their environment, and emphasize respect towards diversity, environmental and ecological awareness, community involvement, and appreciation for education.


If you have enjoyed reading or sharing this book, I would very much like to hear from you. Please click here to send your comments.