Something special happened at Bronx Community College over the Summer.
In one children’s literature course, a melting pot of people used their cultural diversity to come together. This class wound up changing the lives of many students, including 26-year-old Melissa Cabrera.
“It just feel like wow there’s certain things out there, that I’ve gone through that I’ve experienced that I didn’t think were significant but they are,” Cabrera said.
With guidance from Professor Katherine Arnoldi, students in the class were encouraged to write a children’s book that reflected their own culture and life in America.
“Many of my students are working all day long, they come to college at night,” Arnoldi said. “Many of them are teenage mothers, they are against all odds and overcoming great obstacles to get here.”
As they wrote their stories, they realized how much of an impact their own experience could have on future generations.
“As a child, especially in America where there are so many different ethnicities and cultures, it’s hard to find your own,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera’s story is about a a little boy from the Dominican Republic who migrates to New York City. He befriends a pigeon named Emma in Central Park who “shows him the beauty of New York,” she said.
Cabrera is now working with a literary agent and could be on her way to being a published children’s book author.
A lesson in English, life and self-worth well taught.