"Cal Poly professor shares her story in her writing" is an article published by The Tribune which explains Gloria L. Velásquez's writting inspiration. Read full article here.
Revista Cronopio is a Colombian magazine. It published Fugitivo on its 40th edition. Fugitivo is a fragment of Gloria L. Velásquez's next novel Toy Soldiers. Read full article here.
Author Gloria Velásquez went to Roosevelt High School in Johnstown when the curriculum centered on white Europeans. Now she's promoting the sixth book in a series she created called "Roosevelt High School," set in a fictional city called Laguna on the central coast of California. There, a multiracial group of characters deal with issues Velasquez cares about, including teen pregnancy and homophobia. Read full article here.
People read because the experience changes their lives. That’s the presumption behind a new state contest, “Letters about Literature.” Students in grades 4-12 were encouraged to write a letter to their favorite authors, telling them how their work shaped their perspective on the world or on themselves. Two Manson High School students, sophomore Karla Pineda and freshman Samantha Etheridge, were among 11 students who received honorable mentions in the ninth to 12th-grade category. More than 1,500 students in grades 4-12 participated statewide. Instructors Mike Dewey and Jennifer Rayner gave the essay contest as an assignment to all ninth and 10th graders at Manson. Pineda and Etheridge are both Rayner’s students. “We are extremely proud that Samantha and Karla’s letter were honored,” Rayner said. Etheridge wrote to S.E. Hinton about her favorite novel, “The Outsiders,” a story about gangs in the 1950s and 60s. She read the book twice, she said, and saw the movie. The lesson she took from the novel: “I learned to accept gay people and not to judge them for their sexuality but for who they are,” Pineda said. “When my friend was gay and I found out, it helped me to accept them better.” Secretary of State Sam Reed honored the three contest winners in the three age categories—students from Spokane, Olympia and Stanwood—at a ceremony on April 18. “Children who are passionate about reading later become thoughtful and articulate adults. It is heartening to see so many young students interested in reading,” Reed said.
Dear Gloria Velasquez, Your book Tommy Stands Alone is my favorite out of all your Roosevelt High School series. This book has helped me to accept homosexual people, and to understand them. It is very hard for them to come out, because they never know what peoples’ reactions will be.
When I found out that my friend was gay it was easier to accept him for who he is. I guess that it was also easier for him to have someone to talk to. Like Tommy, my friend also felt alone. He actually felt so alone that he was going to end his life. After reading your book, I knew that all I needed to do to help him out was just to listen. I encouraged him to just ignore what people said and to be true to himself. I told him that most people who were making fun of him were doing it because of their own insecurities, and then I gave him a copy of your book.
I spent hours talking to him everyday. I would talk to him before and after school, and whenever I could, just to see how he was doing. About four months later I finally convinced him to at least tell his parents; I felt they should be able to understand, since his mom always supports him in everything that he does. He didn’t want to at first because he was afraid that they wouldn’t accept him. He thought they might even kick him out. His parents didn’t take it very well at first, but they did accept him. He called me to tell me that everything went fine, and that he was really thankful that I had convinced him to tell his parents. It was hard, but I convinced him to get in to counseling so that he would have someone to talk to him or her when I wasn’t home. After a few months he called to tell me that everything was fine and that thanks to your book, he learned he just had to be himself.
I have learned so much from my friend. After talking to him about how your book has changed his life, I realized that it has also changed mine. Without your book I could have lost a really great friend. Your book taught me to appreciate books and now I actually love reading.
Tommy Stands Alone has helped my friend so much that he doesn’t need me anymore. Now when he calls me it is just to thank me for giving him support and helping him through those rocky times, and for sending him your book. Now he’s doing great, except I am the one thankful, for your book and for him, and for teaching me one of life’s really tough lessons. So once again, thank you so much Gloria for your wonderful book; I’m eternally grateful.