More than 40 bilingual students at San Marcos High School publish children’s books

Students had opportunity to be published thanks to a financial grant

Mrs. Alethea Cavin’s ESOL II students recently had their children's books published. (Photo Courtesy of San Marcos CISD)

SAN ANTONIO – More than 40 bilingual students at San Marcos High School had books recently published thanks to a financial grant.

The San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District said 27 students in Mrs. Norma Ybarra’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) I class and 16 in Mrs. Alethea Cavin’s ESOL II class wrote the children’s books.

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“I think it’s really good for them to think of themselves as authors, going through the process of writing,” Cavin said in a press release. “It’s very hard at first going through the process of writing because in the beginning of writing, they think, ‘Oh no, I can’t write a book. I can’t do that.’ And then, they see the whole process with the writing project. It’s really cool to see them struggle as writers but then find their identity in writing, and let them choose what they want to write about.”

The students had the opportunity to be published in hardback thanks to a financial grant.

The project was done as part of the course’s curriculum and the books focused on social justice issues. Several books discuss mental health, adjusting to new schools, and healthy living, among other topics, a press release said.

“I wrote about issues when I was a child, like emotions, these are things that happen in your life and I think I give some solutions to these problems,” stated Artola Torres, a sophomore in Cavin’s class who immigrated to San Marcos from Nicaragua and has been learning English for 10 months.

Ybarra told the district her class wrote fiction books, and the students’ projects were another way for her class to value learning English.

The press release said Nestor Gonzalez Sanchez, a freshman in Cavin’s class, wrote “Jesus and His New Friends,” a story about adjusting to moving and starting to attend a new school.

“It’s a book about a boy when his family moved to another city and he was a child at his new school,” Gonzalez Sanchez stated. “His new classmates ignored him because they did not know him. When his teacher did an activity with the class, they learned he was very friendly and a good person.”

The students were pleased to see their books get published.

“We’ve been on our computer screens reading them, and then when they came in, they were like, ‘Oh my God, it’s so beautiful,’ and they’re proud of their books,” Cavin said.

About the Author

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.

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