Brenda Perez Mendoza, Maestra Mendoza

Episode 75: [VLM Spotlight] Embracing Bilingual Education and Cultural Identity Through Writing with Maestra Mendoza

In the realm of education and authorship, few stories resonate as profoundly as that of Brenda Mendoza, a beacon of inspiration and a testament to the transformative power of dedication, culture, and education. As a Latina mom, an award-winning dual language teacher, and an author, Brenda’s story is one of triumph over challenges, a journey that not only celebrates bilingual education but also advocates for racial justice in America through her Latinx American bilingual series.

The Power of Bilingual Education

Brenda’s narrative begins with her roots as a first-generation child of immigrants, highlighting the immense value of holding onto one’s roots and the importance of bilingual education. Brenda shares the significant strides she has made in literature by offering bilingual books that illuminate the Latinx American experience, filling identity gaps for kids and empowering them through education and storytelling.

Throughout my conversation with her, Brenda delves into the challenges and triumphs that have defined her path. She speaks on her profound insights into bilingual education and how her personal experiences as a child in an English-dominant education system fueled her passion for advocating for language learners.

A Cultural and Educational Awakening

Brenda’s journey into authorship began with a series of questions from her fourth-grade students, who were curious about their Hispanic heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month. This curiosity sparked Brenda’s realization of a gap in literature for children who wanted to know about their culture, identity, and the nuances of being bilingual. Thus, the “Racial Justice in America, Latinx American Bilingual Series” was born.

The series, meticulously researched and written by Brenda, aims to provide children with a mirror into their identity and history, narrating the stories of significant figures and events in an accessible, bilingual format. Brenda emphasizes that this endeavor is not just about creating content but about instilling a sense of pride and belonging in young readers.

Advocating for Bilingualism and Beyond

Brenda’s commitment to bilingual education and advocacy did not stop at her authorship. She has been a vocal proponent of the need for bilingual assessments in schools to ensure that children receive the right support in their education journey. Sharing from her vast experience, Brenda advises parents on how to advocate for their bilingual children in schools, emphasizing the superpower that comes with being bilingual.

Brenda Mendoza’s journey is a vivid illustration of how education, culture, and the power of storytelling can pave the way for change, understanding, and empowerment. Her story is a call to embrace our heritage, advocate for bilingual education, and inspire others through our journey. As Brenda continues to open doors with her work, she leaves an indelible mark on the field of education and literature, proving that with passion and perseverance, we can indeed redefine the narratives of future generations.

Episode Show Notes

In this episode, I have the privilege of sitting down with Brenda Perez Mendoza, a remarkable Latina mom, award-winning dual language teacher, and author. Brenda shares her inspirational journey from a first-generation child of immigrants to a celebrated educator and author, driven by her passion for bilingual education and cultural identity.

She discusses the many challenges she encountered due to language barriers and how these experiences propelled her to advocate for racial justice and bilingual education through her Latinx American Bilingual Series books. These works aim to bridge identity gaps for kids, empowering them and their Latina moms to embrace their heritage through storytelling.

Brenda offers invaluable expertise for bilingual families and educators, underlining the importance of recognizing bilingualism as a superpower.

In This Episode, You’ll Hear:

  • Brenda’s philosophy and impact on becoming a leader in education.
  • The birth of a bilingual book series and how Brenda reclaimed her love for writing.
  • How parents can advocate for their children in schools, their community, and beyond.

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About Brenda Perez Mendoza

Brenda Perez Mendoza, Maestra Mendoza

Brenda Perez Mendoza, is an award-winning educator and the author of Racial Justice in America: A Latinx American Series.

She grew up in Cicero, Illinois as a native language Spanish speaker. When she went to school, there wasn’t enough support for students learning the English language. That is what drove her to become a K-12 ELL specialist and work with bilingual students. She works to advocate for all students, Latinx especially, embrace their culture and celebrate who they are. Today, she lives in Chicago, Illinois, and is committed to providing students with culturally responsive practices and advocating for the Whole Child.

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