My love of reading began when my mama would read to us every night. She wanted us to be educated and literate, so we could assimilate into the culture of the United States. Both my parents were born in Puerto Rico. My mom came to the U.S. at 4 and my dad at 14.
She would read us stories from Hans Christian Anderson, The Swiss Family Robinson, Ramona the Pest, Heidi, and many others
My favorites were The Velveteen Rabbit and The Little Engine that Could.
The story of The Little Engine that Could would stay in my mind and when we would ride the subways during the week, I would hear the train clickety-clack. I would turn it into the Little Engine and hear, "I think I can. I think I can." I would then turn it into, "I thought I could. I thought I could."
I think the island of Puerto Rico is much like the train in The Little Engine that Could, except this one is the 6 train from the Bronx. Puerto Rico, mi gente, keep going up that big hill and yes, you might slide down from time to time, but we are going to be saying before long, ”We thought we could and we did."
You can read more of the struggle of Puerto Rico and a multi-generational family in Song Of The Boricua.