9-year-old girl writes bilingual book about her late dog, ‘Ben the Pug’

Children’s book is written in both English, Spanish and focuses on themes including courage and family

A San Antonio girl honors her late dog Ben in a bilingual children's book available for purchase now.

SAN ANTONIO – Nine year old Valeria Fernanda Espinoza Alatorre turned her passion for pugs into a children’s book that is now available for purchase.

Espinoza Alatorre is a Mexican-American girl who loves to read and write in both Spanish and English. Her bilingual book, “Ben the Pug” came to life during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and have space for grieving, as it centers around her late pug: Ben.

Ben the Pug is centered around the author’s beloved late dog, Ben (Jose Luis Espinoza)

Espinoza Alatorre’s best friend passed away in June of 2020. It was a tough loss for the family, especially for the young girl.

“I just miss the fact that he was (always) there (for me),” she said. “He was just, like, the cutest.”

The author then created a pug-town with Ben still leading the pack and protecting those he loved most. The children’s book features Ben and Espinoza Alattore’s other dear friends.

“The (children are) Purple, Muñe, Panchito, Rosita,” Espinoza Alatorre said. “Ben (is) the dad. Frida is the mom. Roko is Ben’s brother. Our family owns them. So, it’s kind of like our family (owns) the pug family.”

Pictured: Valeria, her mother and two of their pugs. (Jose Luis Espinoza)

One of her favorite parts of the book that features text in English and in Spanish is when Ben stands up for his family.

“They were very scared that whatever was out there would break the window in the room. Ben was getting even more scared every second. Then, he said to himself, ‘Don’t let fear get the best of you.’ He had heard that many times when he was a puppy. Then, he decided to be brave. This was his job: to protect the family.” That scene can be read on page 13.

Espinoza Alatorre hopes the book inspires children to be courageous like Ben.

“Just keep chasing your dreams and never give up,” she said.

The book and E-book are available for purchase online. Local readers can purchase a signed copy of “Ben the Pug” at the local Barnes and Noble at 18030 Hwy 281 N Unit 10.

To learn more about the author, click here.

About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.