Featured Author — Minda Gomez

Today’s featured author is Minda Gomez, who writes bilingual children’s chapter books about the multi-cultural Martinez family! She lives with her husband and three kids in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Martinez Kids Adventures are a children’s chapter book series centered around a bicultural Mexican-American family. Rico, Diego, and Araceli Martinez are three spunky bilingual siblings who live in Minnesota with their Mami and Papi.

In The Secret Door, the family discovers that their next-door neighbor, Don Toño, has developed an invention that will transform them into animals through virtual reality, simply by walking through a secret door. They travel to the forest as squirrels, the coral reef as marine animals, and the Mexican rainforest as spider monkeys. In each adventure, they make new animal friends and learn lessons that can be applied to their lives. 

In The Arctic Quest, the Martinez family is driving to Mexico to visit family for Christmas. Along the way, the kids are transported to the Arctic and turned into animals through special virtual reality sunglasses that allow them to fly, swim, and communicate with other animals. Through new challenges and friendships, they learn important lessons through their adventures. Upon arriving in Mexico, they experience a rich, warm Navidad celebration that they will never forget.

The Martinez Kids Adventures are available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online booksellers. Links to the books can be found at my website, www.mindagomez.com.

The Martinez family is modeled after my own cross-cultural family. My husband lived in Mexico until we got married, so Spanish language and culture are an integral part of our family’s dynamics. Over the years I have made it my goal to find quality bilingual and cross-cultural books. I have come across very few books about families that look similar to mine, so it has been a joy to represent them in exciting, wholesome stories.

In addition, I wanted to represent the code-switching and natural flow between Spanish and English that takes place in a bilingual family. Spanish words are incorporated into the dialogue in context in the English book, and a glossary is available for referencing meaning and pronunciation.

My husband and I worked together on the Spanish translation of the books. English words are also incorporated into the dialogue. 

These books are tributes to the beauty of language, culture, food, and family. Spanish words are scattered throughout the story in context, offering an opportunity for readers to learn.

I want these stories to draw families together with intriguing stories that activate the imagination and inspire meaningful conversations. It is also a goal that my readers will grow in their appreciation for their own traditions and those of their neighbors.

When I wrote my first book in the summer of 2021, I did not know anything about the world of publishing, and basically had to figure it out as I went along. I did not have any idea what this would grow into, or all of the areas in which I would have to learn new skills.

One of the most challenging skills was learning to illustrate digitally on an iPad. I have always loved art but did not have experience with this medium. It has been very rewarding to develop in this area, and I find the illustration process to be incredibly engrossing. Hours can go by as I am working on one project, and it may feel like it’s only been a short time. 

The marketing process has been challenging for me as well, as I do not have any formal training in this area. I have been thankful for the way people so generously share their knowledge online. 

Currently I am working on my third chapter book, which is in the editing process. I am also working on a spin-off picture book based on one of the animal characters from my current work in progress. I work during the chances I can find between the responsibilities of parenting and my full-time teacher job. It is my goal to release these books by this summer, but that time is flexible. That is the beauty of self-publishing; my deadlines can adapt to my life.

The best writing advice I’ve ever been given is do it because you love it. I want to keep doing this because it is something I enjoy. If it starts to feel like a chore, I need to take a break. That’s the benefit of doing this for myself and not as my full-time job. Currently it brings me so much joy that I can’t imagine stopping.

You can connect with Minda here:

The Secret Door by Minda Gomez

The Secret Door/La Puerta Secreta by Minda Gomez introduces young readers to the Martinez children, Rico, Diego, and Aracela, and their fantastic adventures. In this short chapter book, we can enjoy their treetop, ocean, and rainforest exploits via the neighbor’s virtual reality system (hidden behind that secret door) as they learn about the values of contentment, honesty, and wisdom. 

Minda Gomez is also the book’s illustrator. Her drawings are vibrant and entertaining. She also did the Spanish translation along with her husband, Moises Gomez. According to the author, the Martinez family is based closely on her own multicultural family, which made it fun to write because she knew the characters so well. The family’s creative neighbor Don Toño is a combination of the author’s actual neighbor and her suegro (father-in-law), although she admits that neither is the inventor of the fabulous VR door featured in the story. 

In the English version, there is a guide to pronouncing the characters’ Spanish names and two and a half pages devoted to Spanish/English translation and phonetic pronunciation of the Spanish terms. The Spanish edition defines the English words, and a pronunciation guide is included. Additionally, readers are directed to www.mindagomez.com to hear the English pronunciation. 

Finally, both versions include a section on Mami’s Spicy Turkey Quesadillas, a recipe even kids could prepare to round out the adventures. 

I received an ARC for reviewing purposes.

April 2021 Virtual Book Tour –Janett Zizumbo

About the Author

Janett Zizumbo was born in Chicago, IL, USA and currently resides in Veracruz, Mx. She has received a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a Masters degree from University of South Florida. She is a writer, illustrator, visual artist, and teacher.

Being bilingual as a child, she always found it difficult to find resources to help with her fluency. Specifically, having grown up in the United States she only had the opportunity to learn English academically and learn Spanish through conversation with family. This is where she got the idea of creating stories for bilingual children to read and have easy access.

The Kangaroo / El Canguro

During my stay in Australia, the family and I spent some time in one of the nature reserves in Melbourne, Australia. We went during dusk and had a small picnic watching kangaroos hopping around completely unfazed by our presence. It was such a surreal moment to live. A pair of joeys playing with each other inspired me to write this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Durante mi estadía en Australia, la familia y yo pasamos un tiempo en una de las reservas naturales de Melbourne, Australia. Fuimos durante el anochecer y tuvimos un pequeño picnic viendo a los canguros saltando completamente imperturbables por nuestra presencia. Fue un momento tan surrealista para vivir. Un par de joeys jugando me inspiraron a escribir este libro. Espero que lo disfruten tanto como yo al escribirlo.

Readers are absolutely perfect for building fluency. These readings include a story, along with reading comprehension questions and a writing/drawing exercise all in Spanish and English.

This reader is a bit more advanced aimed at 1st grade2nd grade students slightly advanced with fluency.

Los Readers son absolutamente perfectos para desarrollar la fluidez. Estos Readers incluyen una historia, junto con preguntas de comprensión de lectura y un ejercicio de escritura/dibujo, todo en Español e Inglés.

Este lector es un poco más avanzado y está dirigido a estudiantes de 1º a 2º grado ligeramente avanzados con fluidez.

What it contains/ lo que contiene:

  • An E-book in Spanish and English/ un E-book en Español e inglés
  • Reading comprehension questions in Spanish and English/ Comprension de lectura
  • Vocabulary/ Vocabulario
  • Writing portion/ejercicio de escritura
  • Drawing portion/ ejercicio de dibujo
  • crossword puzzle/ crucigrama
  • Total of 17 pages/ 17 paginas en total
  • An audio will be included on the website to help the student understand the pronunciation

Connect With Me

Bilingual Online Teacher

Ophelia’s Bilingual Readers



Celebrating International Children’s Book Day

Just a quick note to let you know that in honor of International Children’s Book Day both La Historia de Moroleón para Niños and The History of Moroleon for Kids ebooks are on sale for 99 cents from April 2 until April 6.

Now back to the April 2021 Virtual Book Tour!