Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book?
I think this idea has crossed the minds of many people, particularly parents who read a lot of picture books to their own kids.
And some of these parents, of course, are seeking to raise bilingual children and so the book they imagine writing would be in their mother tongue, to help their kids—and other kids in the world—learn that language and appreciate that culture.
Well, one parent who has fulfilled that wish is Ana Cristina Gluck, a mother of two who is originally from Brazil and now lives in the United States. Ana Cristina, who has a background in graphic design and marketing, wrote the children’s book Minha Familia, in Portuguese, and this book has gone on to earn dozens of five-star reviews at Amazon from grateful parents.
In fact, that book is only one part of Ana Cristina’s larger success because she has created her own publishing company, ABC Multicultural, that produces a variety of children’s books in multiple languages. To date, ABC Multicultural has published 14 titles in languages that include Portuguese, English—and coming soon—German, Italian, French, and Spanish. (And if you enter the giveaway below, you’ll have the chance to win any 3 books of your choice!)
Recently, I spoke to Ana Cristina via Skype about her experience as a writer and publisher, then followed up by email to pursue the interview below. Indie publishing is certainly a challenge (as I know personally!), but Ana Cristina’s proactive spirit is enabling ABC Multicultural to produce high-quality books on a regular basis and positively impact the lives of families all over the world.
Interview with Ana Cristina Gluck
Could you please tell us about yourself? In what ways has your life been touched by bilingualism?
I’m a Brazilian mom, art director, author, and founder of ABC Multicultural, an American publisher of children’s books in many languages, including Portuguese and English. I moved to the U.S. in 1999, went to college in Long Island, New York, and got married to a monolingual American man. I have a degree in Commercial Arts & Digital Technology and professional experience in graphic design and marketing. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two bilingual daughters. I started ABC Multicultural in 2013, a few years after my first daughter was born. Since then, my mission with my publishing company has been to promote bilingualism by encouraging parents living abroad to teach their native languages to their children.
What led you to become a writer and publisher of children’s books?
I’ve spoken to both of my daughters in Portuguese since they were born. When my first daughter was two years old, I became very concerned about having her learn Portuguese, my mother tongue. I started searching for books in Portuguese to help me teach her the language but I couldn’t find any in the U.S. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a publishing company to publish children’s books in Portuguese, English, and other languages to help other parents raising bilingual children like me. With that idea in mind, ABC Multicultural began with a collection of four board books for babies and toddlers learning Portuguese. Since then I’ve published four other books of my own and more from other authors. The books are sold on Amazon in print and e-book formats. I’m now continuing to expand our line of books with additional titles and additional languages.
Could you tell us more about ABC Multicultural?
ABC Multicultural is a startup publishing company focused on creating multilingual children’s literature. We can publish children’s books in any language and sell them through Amazon. We publish hardcover books, paperbacks, board books, and e-books. At ABC Multicultural we offer a Publishing Partnership where both publisher and author equally invest in the production and publication of the book and we equally share the royalties that the book earns.
We work with a purpose: to motivate parents who are living outside their home country to pass on their native language to their children. As a result, these children will have the opportunity to grow up bilingual. We believe that language is the most important piece of culture a person can learn and teach. Language has the power to create relationships and to bring people closer together. The world is a better place when understood in more than one language.
So your goal is to publish books in a variety of languages?
Yes, I think it’s important for families of bilingual children to have quality books in their minority language. Books are a great way to connect children with their heritage language and culture. Books help children develop their language skills. In the same way they need books in the majority language to accomplish this, they also need books in the minority language to sustain their interest and development in that language.
So far, most of the books that we’ve published are in Portuguese, because I’m Brazilian, but my idea is to keep expanding the languages and the publications.
What’s it like being an indie publisher in this field?
It’s tough! We need to change as the market changes and always stay up to date with the many forms of marketing, including social media. You have to love what you do to keep going and not give up. Luckily, I do love what I do!
What does the future hold for you and your work?
Many more books written by me and other authors published by ABC Multicultural in many different languages.
What would be your best advice for parents seeking to raise bilingual children?
Speak to them in your native language as much as you can. Expose them to other people who speak the minority language as much as you can. Support their language learning with books, travel, and communication with family members living abroad.
See other posts in the “Bilingual Lives” series…
Bilingual Lives: Delia Berlin, Author of Bilingual Picture Books
Bilingual Lives: Victor Santos, Creator of Innovative Language-Learning Resources
Bilingual Lives: Beatrice Beckmann, Founder of KinderBooks, a Subscription Service for Children’s Books
Book Giveaway! (Win any 3 books of your choice!)
Ana Cristina has kindly offered to send three books to one lucky winner of this giveaway. The winner can choose from among any of the current titles offered by ABC Multicultural.
The winner was picked randomly by Lulu, who chose…
Amy in France
(Check out Amy’s lively blog about her trilingual family!)
Congratulations, Amy! And many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!
To enter the giveaway, just follow these three simple steps…
1. Share this post with others via social media. Help spread the word on Ana Cristina’s good work for bilingual and multilingual families. Use the sharing buttons on this page or simply copy and paste this link. (On Twitter, please add @ABCmulticultura to your tweet so Ana Cristina will see it!)
2. Leave a comment below with the following information. (And please proofread your comment, before submission, to check that the information is complete.)
1. Your first name and where you live (Example: Adam in Japan)
2. Your children and their ages (Example: Girl, 14 and Boy, 11)
3. Your two (or more) languages (Example: Japanese, English, and Spanish)
4. If you wrote a book for children, what would it be like? Share whatever ideas you have! (Example: I’d like to write a series of chapter books about bilingual twins and how their “language powers” enable them to overcome the difficulties of dangerous adventures.)
3. All entries must be submitted by the morning of Saturday, July 21 (Japan time). On that day, the comments will be printed out and cut apart to serve as entry slips for the drawing. The slips will be placed in an empty tub of Lego and I’ll have my kids arm wrestle to see who gets to randomly select the winner. I’ll then contact the lucky winner by email and update this post with the results.
I won’t respond to your comments here, but Ana Cristina and I look forward to seeing them. Thank you for entering the giveaway, and for sharing this information about Ana Cristina’s work with others.
1. I live in USA, I am bilingual (Russian, English).
2. I raised my daughter truly bilingual and now I’m raising 3 grandkids bilingual.
3. Their ages: 1, 4, and almost 6
4. I would want to write bilingual books about adventures of a 6-year-old boy who could not understand why most people speak only one language or, about his discoveries and quests, and how he changes the world by his questions.
1. Amy in Paris, France.
2. Two girls aged 6 and 2.
3. Two minority languages: Spanish and English (our majority language is French).
4. I have often told my eldest that being trilingual is like a fairy’s gift: being able to communicate with everyone and even help. Should I ever write a book for bilingual children, it would probably be a fairy tale and that gift.
1. Elke in the US
2. 2 boys, 14 and 7 years old
3. English majority language, French minority language
4. I would write a story centering around the foods of our two cultures.
1. Leigh Anne in Tennessee (USA)
2. Boys – ages 6 & 4
3. Languages – Portuguese & English
4. I’d write a series of books about brothers whose parents are from different countries and how they learn about each culture. I’d also include how awesome and unique that the boys are because they can speak two languages. I would include how the boys’ friends love that the boys can speak a different language.
1. Phoenix, USA
2. Girl, 5 years old
3. English, Portuguese and Spanish
4. I would write books that tell my daughter’s little adventures, in a way where the story would keep those memories and also motivate kids to explore too.
1. Marisa, originally from Spain, living in the US.
2. 1 girl, two years old.
3. English (ML), Spanish, German, some French (mls).
4. Well, my sister inherited all the writing talent when it comes to writing books for children (she’s actually written pretty good short stories for them), but should I write a book for children, I think it’d be something about how this evil, evil character (a la Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies) blackmails the world because (s)he’s stolen something very precious the world cannot live without, and (s)he has stored it inside a big chamber with transparent walls so everyone can see it, but no one can touch it/get it. In exchange for the code to open that chamber and retrieve that precious item (a code that not even the smartest scientists in the world can crack, of course), (s)he makes some outrageous demands that nobody can fulfill, so it seems the world is doomed… until a very nice girl who lives in a regular city like any other city in the world (i.e. probably my daughter, he ,he) realizes that the code is an intricate combination of all her minority languages; after wonderful adventures trying to recruit other multilingual speakers like her to fight this evil character, she and her friends eventually crack the code and save the world from an imminet catastrophic destruction…
Not very original, but I can only hope it’s a fun book! 🙂 And the bottom line would be: knowing other languages is fun and useful if you want to be a superhero!
1. Jen in the United States
2. Boy, 2
3. English and Italian
4. I would write a book about a child who travels the world and can magically speak the language of each country he visits.
1. Deborah from Brazil.
2. Two precious boys: Frank, almost 6 years old, and Garrett, 3 years old.
3. Portuguese (native) and English.
4. Because I have two boys and one of my life goals is to forge a loving and ever-lasting relationship between them and the world they live in, I would probably write a series of chapter books about the Terhune Brothers adventures as they unite their super powers to promote love, kindness and peace in a turmoiled world.
1. Brenda in the USA
2. 3 children: girl 8, girl 7, boy 3
3. Spanish and English
4. If I wrote a book it would be about the adventures of 2-3 children living in a foreign country. Their adventures would teach others what it is/was like to live in that country and the love that is/was felt in the families. So many of our children have no idea what life is in another place than where they live so I would try to transport them to this new place and give them that experience.
1. Paul in Mexico
2. Twin girls aged 5
3. English and Spanish
4. I know it isn’t original but the stories I tell my girls are about a magic treehouse where they find different clothes, step through a magic door and have an adventure. i.e. they find ballet outfits and end up being prima donnas in a ballet, or doctor’s outfits and end up helping in a hospital. But they’re always back for tea (and normally asleep when I finish!).
1. Izabela, Newark-on-Trent UK
2. Two boys, Adam 9 and Oliver 3
3. Polish and English
4. A story about two boys who discover an amazing talent – every time they try a new food or dish (which they didn’t like in the past or never tried), they learn a new word in their minority language (Polish), so they travel the world to find as many and exotic new dishes as they can to learn Polish without the need for books or lessons!
1. Linda in Canada
2. Boy, 3, and Girl, 6 months
3. English, Serbian, Korean, French
4. I’d write a story about mixed-culture kids in school. I’d like stories grounded in reality rather than fantasy. I didn’t have books that reflected me growing up.
1. Jaime from Washington state, US
2. Boy 18 months
3. English, Spanish, French, ASL
4. I think trilingual books would be fantastic! I would also love super hero books where the hero can complete a journey; or,overcome a problem, obstacle, or disability with the powers of communication and education.
1) Hana born and grew up in Czech Republic, now living in Finland
2) Boy, 9 months
3) Czech, English, Finnish
4) I would like to write a book about my son, for him, how special he is and how great opportunity he got with learning 3 languages from birth. The book would be for little bit older him, cause I want to encourage him to study languages, even more languages that he is hearing from us. 🙂