3-Minute Interview: Author Mirta Meltzer

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Meltzer is an art teacher at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in the District and is originally from Argentina. She recently published her first children's book, "My Hands," which is written in both English and Spanish.

How did you come up with the idea for "My Hands"?

I started doing illustrations for children books a long time ago, and I decided to do my own book. It's based on a poem and is the story of a journey in life told by a mother to a child through her hands. I rewrote it for kids, and I did all the illustrations.

How difficult was it getting published?

I sent my project to different publishers and agents, and I didn't have any luck. It was going to be published in Spain five years ago, but the publisher went out of business. It was a dream come true when I decided to do it myself. The print and everything came out very, very nice. I did everything. You want the book in a certain way, and I'm very happy because it came exactly the way I want.

Why did you decide to write it in two languages?

A good way to learn a language is from the beginning when they are little. When you are little, it sticks to you forever, and you don't forget. It's very good for the child to learn the language with a story, and they learn the story and they practice the language.

What has the reception been like?

We have bilingual students [at Stokes], so it was very well-received. It's a very good tool for the school. The language is very simple, and the two versions are displayed side by side in a way to provide readers an easy opportunity to learn the two languages, so it would be valuable.

- Steve Contorno

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