Book Description

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

Playwright, screenwriter, and director Luis Valdez began his life as a farm worker but he held onto his dreams. Holding onto our dreams is one of the keys to success. Hop aboard as we accompany muralist Judith Francisca Baca, and the person who discovered the cause of yellow fever, and Doctor Carlos Juan Finlay, from their humble beginnings to their incredible accomplishments.

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.


There are ample references to the Migrant Farm Workers in my books, since working with Migrant Farm Working families has been one of the most significant aspects of my life.

Specifically connected to Luis Valdés work “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 is an alphabet book of poems, written in honor of the Farm Workers. The book was illustrated by Simon Silva, who grew up on a farm workers family. The poems have been turned into powerful songs by Suni Paz, who recorded them for the CD of the same title.

The life of César Chávez is tied to the Migrant Farm Workers struggle. Thus an interesting connection could be established between the biography of Luis Valdés and that of Chávez which appears in Paths or Caminos, another book of this series.

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.


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