I grew up in a Jewish family in Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border, in a predominantly Mexican-Catholic community. Since the early ’60s, I have been on a rich journey of embracing interracial/interfaith friendships and marriage. The wisdom and maturity I gained along the way have served as a bridge for me to honor my true spirit of diversity. I have learned to believe in and accept myself with grace and integrity, as well as to respect the values of family, traditions and culture.
These are, in simple terms, the reasons the following books have had a significant impact in my life. Each one has its own special worth and has felt like a piece of Divine Guidance in human terms:
“The Road Less Traveled,” by Scott Peck, M.D., melds love, science, and religion into a primer on personal growth.
“Pocketful of Miracles: Prayers, Meditations and Affirmations to Nurture Your Spirit Every Day of the Year,” by Joan Borysenko.
“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” by Julia Cameron, is a course in discovering and recovering your creative self.
“The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother,” by James McBride, is about the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who marries a black man in the 1940s and raises 12 children who all become college graduates.
I write children’s books with the intention of sharing the jewels of my journey with my audience. Therefore, I include my own books:
“Hip, Hip, Hooray, It’s a Monsoon Day!/Ajua, ya Llego el Chubasco,” about a family experiencing the historic, scientific and cultural wonders of the Sonoran Desert; and “My Nana’s Remedies/Los Remedios de mi Nana,” which brings my life full circle — a simple, yet universal story of love and healing; love from my Jewish Nana, Lillian Bracker Capin and natural remedies from the Mexican Nanas who helped raise me.
Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford is an author/illustrator and was a bilingual preschool and elementary teacher and translator/interpreter.