OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – September 15 begins a month-long celebration of Hispanic culture.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, KFOR’s Ali Meyer shares the story of an Oklahoma author whose books inspire young readers to read and explore in two languages.
Mariana Llanos dreams in two languages.
She speaks a combination of Spanish and English and writes brilliantly in both.
Born and raised in Lima, Peru as the youngest daughter of journalists, Mariana was raised in books and current affairs.
“What I remember most is growing up a little scared of things because, you know, the world was scary,” Llanos said. “The only thing I could control at that time, I realized, was my words and my handwriting. I have been writing since I was very young.
Mariana moved to Oklahoma 21 years ago.
She started a family here and built her life in Oklahoma City.
“I consider myself an Oklahoma, a Peruvian, a Limena. So I think you can be more than one thing, and I try to embrace them all.
When her own children were young, Mariana took up writing again.
This time in English.
“There are so many children who have grown up in a bilingual household, and they need books that are also written in their parents’ language. I think being bilingual is very cool.
Mariana’s books are all published in English and Spanish.
In fact, most of his stories contain a mixture of the two languages.
His last work Run, little Chaski is the story of an Inca messenger.
The tale incorporates many words and phrases in Quechua, which is the ancient language of the Incas.
“I used Quechua words because I wanted it to feel authentic with the setting of the story.”
A Peruvian-born author, this immigrant has been honored in Oklahoma for her story about a kind-hearted boy in the Andes.
His award-winning career is a celebration of culture on two continents.
“Spanish is such an important language in the United States,” Llanos said. “It makes me proud to be able to write in both languages.”
Mariana Llanos and her protagonist, Little Chaski, share this mission; the delightful delivery of an important message: on every journey, be true to your heart.
In 2017, Mariana Llamos was selected as the best Latin artist by the Hispanic Arts Council of Oklahoma.
Earlier this year, his book Run, little Chaski was honored as the 2022 Children’s Book of the Year in Oklahoma.
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