Culture

This Author Is Writing Children’s Books For Central American Kids Explaining Deportations

Randy Jurado Ertll has been writing novels and children’s books for well over a decade, all with the mission to inspire his fellow Central Americans about the possibilities that abound for them in the U.S., and in the fields of public service and politics.

The author of multiple books and novels, including children’s illustrated book, “The Adventures of El Cipitio,” Randy Jurado Ertll has used literature as a means to help others stay woke.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

“It’s important for us to be seen and heard through books that are bilingual. My goal is to make my literature accepted and to be recognized and valued because we haven’t been valued as a whole, a community,” Jurado Ertll says in an exclusive interview with mitú.  

Born in Los Angeles to a Salvadoran mother in the 1970s, Jurado Ertll is a product of what can be accomplished with absolute grit and determination, despite being part of a group that has been on the margins of society—the children of deported immigrants.

When he was just eight months old, his mother was deported back to El Salvador and Jurado Ertll went to live with her until the age of five.

“People think it only happens under Trump, but it’s been happening forever but people forget,” Jurado Ertll says about deportations.

After his mom’s deportation, he tried making the most of living in a foreign land and soaked up as much as he could about the culture.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

“That helped me and gave me an opportunity to learn first—hand the history and culture [of El Salvador]. It shaped my world view,” Jurado Ertll says.

Once he returned home for elementary school, he had to completely relearn the English language and says it was “kind of like a rebirth experience.”

He grew up in South Central Los Angeles during a time when there were few Latinos in his neighborhood. He was a student of the Los Angeles Unified School District until he was accepted into a program to study at a high school in Minnesota.

After high school, he returned to California to study at Occidental College and obtained his master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University. He then went on to be a communications director in Washington, D.C. for a congressional member and also wrote numerous opinion columns for newspapers across the country including the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

Jurado Ertll published his first book in 2009.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

His titles include “Hope in Times of Darkness” about his experience as a Salvadoran American, and a novel with surreal elements about a three-foot mythical creature titled “The Lives and Times of El Cipitio.”

“The Lives and Times of El Cipitio” is a surreal novel, I wanted to use lots of symbolism,” Jurado Ertll says. “I wanted to create an anti-hero that is evil but becomes good, a gangster that runs for mayor of LA then president, and the novel talks about how he evolves.”

When demand for his books increased, Jurado Ertll knew it was time to start bilingual books to inspire readers.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

He then created “The Adventures of El Cipitio.”

“The Adventures of El Cipitio” is more of a feel-good, illustrated book.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

“Kids need to feel good and proud, and see themselves in words and illustrations they can see themselves in,” he says.

Although Jurado Ertll has written several books to put the stories of more Central Americans like him to diversify bookshelves and tell the stories of all types of Latinos, one story he hasn’t quite written about in depth is his own deportation story.

“[The] story hasn’t been explored or told as much because it’s traumatizing—it distorts your sense of safety and belonging, and you can make it positive or negative,” Jurado Ertll says.

“It made me into a resilient person. There are other kids who have suffered more than I have. I wanted to empower people. If you born here, you can come back [after being deported.] Lots of people do that, but their stories are not told,” he continues.

Jurado Ertll has certainly chosen to take his experiences and make it a positive one.

Credit: randyertll / Instagram

Jurtado Ertll’s books are sold in Costco and Amazon, and he also continues to present his books at book fairs and events across the country.

READ: Elizabeth Acevedo Has Been Awarded The Carnegie Medal — The First Time A Writer Of Color Has Won In The Award’s History

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Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

Fierce

Latinas Are Sharing Important Book Reading Clubs And Favorite Reads

There’s a reason why, in the age of television and Youtube, books continue to be read, loved, and adored by readers: when it comes to stories, books elevate the imagination in a way that can engage all of the senses. In times like these, where so many of us are in isolation and feeling alone, reading can, fortunately, do so much for the soul, and being apart of a book club (even if it is on Zoom) can help bring excitement to the monotony of our daily lives.

Fortunately, FIERCE Latinas are recommending book club suggestions as well as reads.

The list below will surely fit the bill for all of your reading desires and help you get over any type of boredom you might have.

This club reading a Hollywood drama.

Amazon

“We actually have a book club called Pasando Páginas! We are currently reading the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” – hijasunidas


@cafeconlibros_bk is reading Little 🔥Everywhere 12.27!” –boardroombombshell

“I started a book club last year and while it’s small, our reads are mighty.” –steezplz


“I just finished “Clap When You Land.” I was never impressed by Acevedo until this book. It blew me away. She focuses more on trauma and grief in adolescence and it’s pretty damn near perfect. HIGHLY recommend.”- abbeyliz7

This club only reading books by Latinas.

Amazon.com

“I started a book club with friends this year. We only read female authors from Latin America. So far, my favorites have been “Delirio” by Laura Restrepo and “Los recuerdos del porvenir” by Elena Garro.” –merimagdalen

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!!” –valeriec01

This book club introducing readers to Chicano literature.

Amazon.com

“Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez was the first Chicano book I have ever read!!!!” valeriec01

“Visionaries a Private Reading Group for BIQTPOC hosted by @femmegoddessco.” –moniii_xoxo

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Disney is Making a Latino Version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

Entertainment

Disney is Making a Latino Version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Another day, another Latino-fied reboot of a beloved story. Recently, we reported that “Father of the Bride” is going to be rebooted, this time with a “sprawling Cuban family” at the center of the movie. Now, apparently ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is getting the same treatment.

According to Deadline, this version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is going to “focus on a multigenerational Latinx family”.

Since there was already a 2014 version of the popular children’s book that starred Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner, the movie is technically being called a “reboot”. But we just like to think of it as a reinterpretation.

Per Deadline, the movie is being developed specifically for Disney+. Seeing as this reinterpretation is being written by the same guy who is writing the “Father of the Bride” reboot (Matt Lopez), it looks like this writer is definitely carving out a niche for himself in Hollywood.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is an incredibly popular children’s book that was published in 1972 by the author Judith Viorst.

Latino artist Ray Cruz illustrated the famously distinctive pictures in the book and its three sequels, “Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday”, “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move”, and “Alexander Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever”.

Viorst, who was also a psychoanalysis researcher, wrote the book to help children process the all-too-common feelings of isolation and frustration that occur when nothing seems to be going their way. It is considered a classic.

Although it’s exciting that another Latino-centric story is going to be brought to the screen, it would also be nice for new, original Latino stories to be told.

For example, part of “Coco’s” popularity was the fact that the movie celebrated and elevated specific aspects of Mexican culture. The movie wasn’t a Latino interpretation of a white text, but it was a Latino narrative through and through.

A lot of the time, Hollywood thinks it can just swap out the characters’ names and slap some Latino actors on the cast, and they’ve hit their “diversity quota” for the year. But true representation goes much deeper than that.

Think about how many “Latino Reboots” there have been. “Charmed”, “One Day at a Time”, “Party of Five”, “Magnum P.I.” , “Father of the Bride”. It’s exciting that Hollywood is taking steps to employee Latino actors and creatives, but it might be time for an original, authentic Latino story to be told.

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