Monday, March 24, 2014

Women's History Month via Supercuts

By Hilde Garcia

A chair. I sit. After a multitude of minutes that have turned into years due to the breakneck pace my life has been since my wonderful twins were born, I sit. At Super Cuts. Because my regular stylist is sick with the flu, but I need my hair done and I need it done now.

I’ve been trying to be the most amazing mom, wife, teacher, aunt, person, so I do for everyone, everyone except me. I’ve buried parts of me that so deep that my kids have no idea who I was before they arrived. I used to act. I use to produce. I still write. But lately, my writing's been buried in a deluge of baseball games, cheer practices and girl scout events.  Smothered by a heavy dose of lesson plans, grading papers, homework and the endless pile of laundry. It’s a miracle that I pee on a daily basis. 

My writing partner, Sue, say she’s in awe of me. I’m not sure why. I don’t write often. Lately, it seems like never. I post when prompted by my group and mostly at gunpoint. In fact, why should I post? I’m no one famous- just a pre-published lady with a story to tell. Who will want to read anything I write?

AND there is always something in my way. I am not sure why I am destined for this. I have learned the word no, but it’s like Murphy knows I want to write, so he throws stuff to cause my pencil to break.

This week’s obstacle of choice? Planning a party for my niece, 3 vet visits and a dying hamster that I couldn’t save. And that was all by Wednesday night.

Who knows? Maybe I’m my own biggest obstacle. I promised this post by Tuesday to make up for missing my deadline last week and here it is, Friday night, and I am banging it out at Super Cuts. The lady doing my hair is talking to me, but I seem able to write in one language and talk to her in another. Who knew?

(And by the way, my hair is looking great, because taking passport photos in the morning with bad hair, isn’t going to work. I’m going to have to look at that photo for ten years. I am going to ensure I look like someone who is NOT frazzled.)
Sigh…. Does it ever end? 

But in honor of Women’s History Month this March, I’d like to highlight some amazing children’s novels that I love for two reasons. One, these fictional young heroines shape their worlds with their courage and love. I’d like to think they are representative of so many other amazing women who have done the same in the real world. And two, I have met most of them or heard them speak and they are as amazing as their heroines. They are diverse and smart and courageous and give me strength to keep making strides.

So I believe these characters exist in us and their choices/our choices can change the world. Each of these heroines comes from a different walk of life and time period, just like the authors who crafted them, and yet they all face their troubles and obstacles with grace and courage. So I’ll keep making my own strides, to face my obstacles in the same fashion, even it if is at gunpoint, and when I am published, I can join the ranks of these one-of-a-kind women.

If you haven’t read some of their outstanding novels, do so. You won’t be disappointed.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico but a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances.

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.

A powerful story of loss and redemption.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
She courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana.  With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends.

Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers.  But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent.  Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

Gentle’s Holler by Kerry Madden

The sixties may have come to other parts of North Carolina, but with Mama pregnant again, Daddy struggling to find work, and nine siblings underfoot, nobody in the holler has much time for modern-day notions. Especially not twelve-year-old Livy Two, aspiring songwriter and self-appointed guardian of little sister Gentle, whose eyes “don’t work so good yet.” Even after a doctor confirms her fears, Livy Two is determined to make the best of Gentle’s situation and sets out to transform the family’s scrappy dachshund into a genuine Seeing Eye dog. But when tragedy strikes, can Livy Two continue to be strong?

Fly Girl by Sherri L. Smith
Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her. When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots—and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly. But WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be. 

Sold by Patricia McCormick

A current account of sexual slavery in Nepal. Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

Wanting More by Rukhshana Khan

Based on a true story about a young girl living in post- Taliban Afghanistan.
When Jameela’s beloved mother, Mor suddenly dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to seek a new life in Kabul. Jameela, a devout Muslim, is appalled as her father succumbs to drink and drugs and then suddenly remarries, which turns Jameela into a virtual slave to her demanding stepmother. When the stepmother discovers that Jameela is trying to learn to read, she urges her father to abandon the child in Kabul’s busy marketplace. Throughout it all, it is the memory of Mor that anchors her and in the end gives Jameela the strength to face her father and stepmother when fate brings them into her life again. 

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu
Everyone has a secret. But Lucy's is bigger and dirtier than most. It's one she's been hiding for years- that her mom's out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. Tackling an increasingly discussed topic that is both fascinating and disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy's desperate attempt to save her family.  Readers join Lucy on a path from which there is no return, the impact of hoarding on one teen's life.


  1. Hi HIlde, thanks for sharing your daily angst and hopes. Also thanks for sharing these great authors and books.

    1. Thanks Penelope. I love always seeing your comments. Before I go and type up a report for my principal on how well I have taught this year, I wanted to be a writer and at least reply to writer folk like you. I also want to say that the title Wanting Mor has a typo which we will fix momentarily. There's an E that shouldn't be there, darn that auto correct! Best wishes, Hilde

  2. I promise you, Hilde, it does get better. One day you will have more time for you in your life. I remain in awe.

    1. I love you Sue. Thank you for being my muse and always doing so much for me. I would have caved ages ago without you. Much love,

  3. Hang in there, Hilde. Busy moms write in strange places and at odd hours. Just a few sentences a day is all it takes. So keep moving forward. And don't beat up on yourself for being a mom and doing all the important mom things. Family first; you won't be sorry. That said, great book selection!

    1. Judy, I simply adore you and Stephanie. You all make me get excited about writing. Remember the fun we had with the hamster, Penny? Well, back then, she had had six babies, right before the conference which is why she ended up in the ball. And I adopted her and one of the babies. I lost her 3 months later, but just lost the baby this past Wednesday. Sigh... so yes, instead of writing, I taught my daughter the meaning of the words- retail therapy. And we went out shopping to grieve over our little Speedy. Thank you for visiting our blog always. Love, Hilde

  4. Beautiful post, Hilde. Take it from the mother of twin boys, sanity will prevail, and all the angst will become a distant memory--and you will long for some of it back.

    Best wishes to you!

    1. Dear Hilde,
      As I read your post, I found myself nodding in agreement. In 2010, you did a critique of the first 10 pages of a book I wrote about the expulsion of Asian Indians from Uganda…and here we are 2014,and I am still in the process of revising that same book while casting other ideas in my trusty mental bag (Which I hope doesn't develop a hole). After much lamenting, I have the attitude that at this point in my life…I do what I can! No regrets. Eventually, that story of mine will be finished…and so in time, your words will find a way back to paper and not shuffling in your head amidst the snipping of scissors, homework, buzzing washing machines etc… At least that is my hope and dream. And where would we be without hope and dreams.

    2. Tina, I totally remember that critique. WOW. Ok, so I am also still on that same novel we talked about- revising it. Although it has sat in a drawer for the last year. I had a professional critique done and I know what I need to do to it, but time and soul have escaped me. However, I am coming out of the first teacher year overwhelm I have been living in and I see writing on my horizon. So I hope and dream for that and I know you will get your novel done and you and I will be on a panel one day telling new aspiring writers this tale. Keep moving forward and I promise to do the same. Best wishes, Hilde

    3. Nancy, you totally understand and I know I agree with you that I might want some of the craziness back and trust me, I live in the moment and love them each moment and enjoy all the phases and I don't wish for them to end sooner than they have to, but am happy when the new phase greets me too. But, there are days. I love my twins. I can't imagine my world without them. I will get back to the writing, I know I will. I just had to get through the mommy stuff first.
      Thank you for posting and for always being such a fan of our blog. Best wishes, Hilde

  5. I'm always surprised by finding time to pee too!!

  6. I'm always surprised by finding time to pee too!!

  7. I read Sold and the Gentle Holler series. I used to go to Supercuts, but since I moved I go to Fantastic Sams. If I tried writing at while getting a haircut, how to I see under the black apron?
    An Inch Above the Ears

  8. I read this blog and all the comments thereafter. I will say this however, you have not lost yourself along the way. Everything that you do and have done since your marriage began and the birth of your children have made you what you are. Maybe you don't do what you did before - no matter - now you do things that you wouldn't have done before. This makes you stronger - makes you better - gives you another perspective on life - and the world at large. LOVE MOM


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