While growing up, Perla Solorio’s parents would read to her often. That’s where her love for books and language began.
Years later, Solorio has turned those loves into “Fresno State: First Words/Primeras Palabras” – a bilingual book that explores the campus of Fresno State for children.
The book introduces children to such Fresno State landmarks as the library, the stadium and the César Chávez statue.
The book released date was October and sells for $11.99 on Solorio’s company’s website, Libros for Small Hands. Solorio started the company in 2019. The goal of the company is for parents and little learners to choose from a variety of comprehensive books with introductory concepts, such as first words.
In the process of deciding how to publish the book, Solorio went the licensing route and decided to donate a percent of sales back into Fresno State.
Solorio felt that it was important to introduce biliteracy and readiness for college to children at a young age.
“There was a lack of bilingual books, and I wanted to be a part of the solution,” Solorio said. “I don’t want to lose the language.”
The process of writing and illustrating the books, took around two years, and another year to get the book published. It was hard for her to balance family, a career, and writing a book.
“A few times I was doubtful,” Solorio said. “I questioned, ‘Can I really do this?’”
Solorio graduated magna cum laude from Fresno State with her bachelor’s degree in social work and her master’s in school counseling. She was always “proud to be a Bulldog.”
School wasn’t always easy for Solorio. There were many challenges along the way. She was a first- generation college student out of seven children. She encourages students to, “Never give up on your vision.”
“As a counselor, this [book] was a way to honor my time at Fresno State,” Solorio said.
Solorio now works at Reef Sunest Middle School, in the same school district she grew up in.
Solorio now reads to her children ages 1 and 3. She states on her website that, “Her two children were her biggest inspiration to write” the book.
Since the book was published, her life hasn’t been the same. She recalls an instance earlier in the day that she was recognized at a local coffee shop.
“I didn’t realize I’d get so much attention from the media or that I would get recognized in public,” said Solorio. “I’m glad to be able to reach more families.”
Solorio hopes this will be the first book in a series of bilingual college introductory books for kids, and she plans to come out with more this year.