Two local authors have just published children’s books aimed towards the Latino school community.  Both Javier Gómez and Denis O’Leary are retired teachers who taught immigrant and migrant students.  Both continue their advocacy for a better education in our community.

Javier Gómez retired from the Oxnard School District in 2006, after 33 years of teaching elementary and junior high school youngsters. Gómez, the eldest of 15 children, was born in Durango, Mexico, and immigrated to the US with his family when he was five. 

“Mister G” along with his wife, Irene, is the founder and artistic director of Teatro Inlakech, the Inlakech Cultural Arts Center, a cultural visual and performing arts educational academy which provides free of charge, after school visual and performing arts educational programs to help individuals discover their artistic potential.

Javier Gomez’ children’s book, “The Adventures of Ce Acatl Topiltzín” is the first story in the adventures of a young boy in the height of the Aztec Civilization, before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadoes. The boy precariously searches for his Name and Shadow with the backdrop of the Aztec belief system and culture.

Denis O’Leary, a recently retired bilingual teacher of 31 years from the Santa Paula and Rio School Districts has also paralleled his teaching with advocacy.  Denis served in civil rights organizations and as an elected Trustee in the Oxnard School District for 17 years.  

Denis O’Leary has authored fascinating books that reflect respect for the diverse Latin American cultures our community must know to build upon the past. From Esteban’s Caravan to children’s books honoring César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, “I Am America Paz. I am not illegal,” and “Grandpa’s Short Handled Hoe.” The English, Spanish, and Yucatec Maya trilingual “Popol Vuh, Stories for Children” followed his bilingual books for children.

Today, Denis O’Leary presents the inspirational story of Gabriela Mistral.

Gabriela Mistral may very well be one of the most influential teachers of the past century. Not only was Ms. Mistral known as an effective educator, but she also took her message of empowerment well outside her classroom. 

From education reform in Mexico to be the first Latina American to receive a Nobel Prize in literature, Gabriela Mistral continued to found UNICEF and much more. 

Empowering girls in education and the right of the poor to receive a proper education, Gabriela Mistral carried her strong message long before the world was ready to recognize these rights. From simple means, Gabriela Mistral became a world leader for the rights of children and motherhood. She quietly changed the protections for children in her native Chile and world.

Both “The Adventures of Ce Acatl Topiltzín” by Javier Gómez, and “Gabriela Mistral: Teacher, poet, and diplomat” by Denis O’Leary are published by Floricanto Press and can be found on Amazon and several independent book stores on the internet.