When we started our bilingual journey with our toddlers, we made a Spanish-only media rule in our house (we only use books, music, movies, etc. in Spanish). We found dozens of Spanish books that we loved. However, we found ourselves quite disappointed with the amount of faith-based Spanish material we could find for our little ones. There are very few faith-based Spanish resources available in the U.S. for little ones. So imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Libritos for the Heart: a faith-based board book series focused on introducing babies to the Bible and the Spanish language. I was thrilled, and quickly swiped them up. These books have become a favorite in our home, and so highly recommend for Spanish-speaking families and those wanting to learn Spanish as a family. I am participating in the Multicultural Kids Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate then to introduce you all to the mastermind behind this series, Bianca Cerrato. Below you will find an interview with her, discussing the inspiration for this series, insight into her self-publishing journey, and tips for those of us raising bilingual babies.
What are Libritos for the Heart?
Libritos for the Heart is a project that God placed in my heart when I was pregnant with my first baby. It was created with three important missions to fulfill. Even before I was married and had children of my own, I would hear pastors say that it is never too early to introduce your children to the Word of God. Therefore, I created Libritos for the Heart to be a series of books that will introduce your little ones to their first stories of the Bible as well as learn their first English and Spanish words. This early introduction to God’s Word is the perfect way to share His love. In addition to an early introduction to the Bible and the Spanish language, the third mission is to give back. For every book sold, I am donating 10% to missionaries focusing on children’s ministries. My vision for Libritos for the Heart is to share God’s love to Lil’ Corazones one book at a time.
What inspired you to write this board book series?
There were two very important people in my life that inspired me to write this board book series. First my grandfather, who was like a father to me and really the heart of my family. I always looked up to my grandfather who was in a wheelchair most of his life and never complained about it. When his health was declining, I would cry at the thought of losing him. Unfortunately, in 2013 he went to be with the Lord, and I endured that season by God’s grace. I knew that He was the only one who could give my family and I the peace, comfort, and most importantly the understanding to keep going. From that event, I vowed to always put God first in my life and make him a priority in my life. So when I became pregnant three years later I knew I had to raise my child putting God first.
Another inspiration was my mom. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, my first thought was, “Oh no, am I really ready?” I have heard many women say that you are never truly ready, and everyone has their own parenting style. I began to reminisce about my childhood and how great it was. I also felt like I had nothing to worry about because my mom was the perfect role model for me and knew she would be there to support me as I began my motherhood journey. What I remember most is how she raised my siblings and I by taking us to church at a young age and pretty much raised us going to church. I still remember having a great time at kid’s church, attending vacation Bible school in the summers, and youth group throughout high school. She always portrayed a genuine loving image. I am blessed to have a mother like my mom who would quote scriptures to me growing up when I had issues at school. The verse in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This quote truly embodied the way my mother raised me and now as a first-time parent, it is also my goal; to raise my children in the ways of the Lord. This verse is the inspiration for my books, because I am a testament to that.
Why Bilingual Books?
I was reminded that I needed to keep a part of my culture, the Spanish language, relevant in my household when I almost declined an invitation to a women’s retreat because it was in Spanish. My hometown church was attending a women’s retreat at a Calvary Chapel campus about an hour away from where I live. My mom had invited me and I initially declined the invitation and my two reasons were that I was still in my first trimester and because the services would be in Spanish I thought I wouldn’t really understand them. However, those were just excuses. I had the best pregnancy without any morning sickness and totally speak and understand Spanish. I think that was the enemy trying to block my project from coming to fruition. About a week before the event my mom called me and said there was one spot left, and I accepted the invitation. Boy am I glad I did! I had the best time ever. The speakers were great and I fell in love with all the worship music in Spanish. After the 2-day retreat we went to the book store on the campus and I was determined to find some Bible books in Spanish. As a first-time mom I was so excited and wanted to buy everything. However, I didn’t know what I was having, so I resorted to books. I went straight to the children’s section and did not find any bilingual or baby books. I found Spanish Bibles for kids or prayer books for either boys or girls. I was determined to continue my search online. On my way home from the retreat I was speaking to my husband and told him about my book search, an then I thought, well if I don’t find any, then maybe this is a project I can take on? And here I am today, sharing the two bilingual Bible books that I self-published.
What barriers did you encounter as you pursued publishing these books?
Honestly, the biggest barriers were my own fears and doubts. God placed this idea in my heart in 2016 and I didn’t publish my first book until 2018. I’d say time was also a factor because I have a full-time job and started this project on my “free” time while I was on maternity leave. In the beginning I was super excited about it and created a business plan, a logo, and wrote down all of my ideas. But then I let doubt get into my head. I thought, “What am I doing? I don’t know anything about writing a book!” However, I would continue to pray about it and when I got ready to take the next step everything worked out seamlessly. I know that God was placing all the right people in my path to ensure this book got published. This was all done for Hks honor and glory. The only barrier I’m facing now is getting the word out to other mothers like me that want to raise up little children of God. I sometimes let fear get in the way of pursuing other outreach opportunities and care about what people are going to say or think of me. But I am faithful that God will help me through this as well. I believe that if it is God’s will, then it will be done.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
I didn’t even know that one could self-publish. One day when I was sharing about this project to a friend, she mentioned that her cousin was a boutique publisher. I said “Thank you, Jesus!” She connected us and I scheduled some time to speak with him. After sharing about my book, my vision, and mission to give back he recommended that I self-publish. My first reaction was, “No. I don’t know how to do that.” But because of how far I had been with a draft of my book, and the fact that I wanted to donate a portion of the proceeds, he highly insisted that I go that route. Like everything else, I prayed about it and followed his recommendation. I did some research on my own and went the self-publish route. I am really glad that I did, because I also wanted that grass roots experience of not only creating, but also selling and sharing about the passion and purpose behind these books. I feel like it’s more meaningful this way.
A percentage of your profits are donated to Missions organizations, what organizations have you worked with?
A big part of what excites me with this project is having the ability to give back. I have always been passionate about volunteering and donating. As I got older I realized I didn’t have as much time as I’d like to volunteer. So I decided that if I dedicated my time to a project it would have to be something I am passionate about. I am getting three birds with one stone. I donate 10% of every book sold to missionaries. I’ve focused on finding missionaries that focus on children’s ministries. I’ve worked with missionaries in Mexico, the Philippines, Columbia, and the U.S. These were recommended to me from followers, family, and friends. For this second book, I am focusing on donations to Mexico to a small town that is focusing on building up their children’s ministry. I am always looking for more missionaries that need assistance and would love to hear about their stories.
What advice do you have for families raising bilingual children?
The best advice I have for families raising bilingual children is to be patient and stay consistent. I know first hand that it is easier said than done. I ask my husband to be the more consistent parent in speaking, but we always go back and forth. To be honest, I don’t stress about it too much. We try to read books and teach him words along the way. I don’t think my parents really read to us growing up, but just being around them and speaking to my grandparents worked for us. Since I don’t live close to my grandparents, I must rely on books to help me remember to keep the language consistent. I know it takes a lot of patience mainly to remind ourselves to speak it and stay consistent.
We so love our Libritos for thr heart books and know that your family will too.
We are so excited for our eighth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series! Now through October 15, you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!
Find even more ideas on our Latin America Pinterest board:
Pura Vida Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Latino Culture
Spanish Playground: Spanish Tongue Twisters for Kids
Kids Spanish Book Club: Five Bilingual Picture Books
el Mundo de Pepita
Little Nómadas: Quesillo Venezolano
De Su Mama
For the Love of Spanish
Tiny Tapping Toes
The Multilingual Home
Bookworms and Owls
Pretty Mama Breastfeeding
Multicultural Kid Blogs