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Thursday, August 23, 2007
EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA by Kim Baccellia
The main inspiration behind writing Earrings of Ixtumea goes back to the first day of school in my bilingual classroom. I taught first graders and one of the assignments was for each child to draw a picture of himself. Imagine my surprise when I saw some of my students color themselves white, blonde, and blue eyed. I found out that my student’s idols included Britney Spears and Xuxa, a Brazilian children’s television host, who was blonde, blue eyed, and very fair. Also a number of the telenovelas actresses were blonde too.

But it wasn’t until I attended the bilingual/bicultural graduate program at Cal State Fullerton in the early 90’s that I learned more about the culture which I ended up finding was mine too.
My own grandfather was the child of an Italian immigrant and the daughter of Mexican migrants. My grandfather was ashamed of his background and refused to speak of it. After my great grandmother’s death a number of people even changed her maiden name thinking that would erase who she was.

I remember going to Olvera Street in Los Angles to find out more about my great grandmother. I found the reconstruction of the same church where they were married. And I even found their marriage written in Spanish verifying who she was and the names of her parents.

It was a long journey for me finding the truth about my Mexican background. No one wanted to admit it but I refused to give up. More than once I felt her spirit guide me to the truth.

In Earrings I wanted to have a teen find out about her rich culture and heritage. I also wanted her to see how beautiful her people were. I hope others see this in my story.

I feel that TV and the movies have made some progress in showing Latinos in a more positive light. I love America Ferrera. I pictured her as the original Lupe when I started writing this story. Also Salma Hayek has been great with her shows, one of which was Frida, one of my favorite Latina artists. I hope more will come out. Especially more on the history of Latinos in this county. For example the civil marches for migrant rights lead by Cesar Chavez. I was surprised how many people don’t know who he is.

If I do write a sequel to Earrings, it would take place in our world as Lupe goes in search of causes for her people. Of course she’ll have to go back to Ixtumea. I’d love to expand the relationship between her and her warrior Teancum. When she’s older, of course!

Kim Baccellia
Author of EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA
http://www.kimbaccellia.com/

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