Today we welcome Becky Villarel,
Born in Dallas, Texas to missionary parents.
“As the fourth of five children I was often left to my own devices to entertain myself. So inventing new stories became my passion at a very early age where I would create small books out of any scraps of paper I could find around the house.
“For twenty years I taught in the Dallas Independent School District. For the past ten years I have been completing family research on my mother’s and father’s families. The grandmother of two I enjoy writing and spending time with my family.
“As an elementary teacher and ten-year veteran of genealogy, I have been able to enjoy not only working with children but finding out about my family history.
One of the books you wrote, Gianna the Great, is an interesting book. Tells us about it.
“Gianna just wants to know about her ancestors, but she has to join an after school history club to do it. Now, she’s about to embark on a journey that will change everything she thinks she knows about her family.
The mother is both unwilling and unable to give her information on her father. Finding out information is a big part of the story. In the beginning of the series, she doesn’t want her daughter digging up old bones because of how her own mother reacted when she was expecting Gianna.
What was your primary reason for writing the books?
“To encourage children to explore their ancestry. This would mean actually talking to their grandparents to get information. In today’s society, so few families take the time to talk to one another anymore and I was hoping to begin these important conversations. When the older members of our families pass away, that link to the family history is often lost.
“The use of Multicultural books in and out of the classroom in this day and time is imperative when so many children are coming from multi-racial and multi-cultural backgrounds. The need for them to see their reflection in books is one of the ways to encourage them to become life-long readers and learners as well.”
Tell us about the Genealogical Research.
“Genealogical research is taking what you know about your family and searching for what you don’t know. It begins with discussions with parents, grandparents, and any family members who might have information; this includes pictures and stories. After this information is put together, you can begin an actual family tree (see attached) this is where it becomes like a puzzle. What piece is missing, a name, date of birth, or place of birth? These records can be found online many times through Family Search.org that has one of the largest databases available free of cost. There is also the National Archives and Genealogy Departments available in the larger libraries. As the tree grows, so does the bank of information that can be put together in book form and given to relatives.
“By learning about my family history, I found out why my hair is the color and texture it is, why I have an overbite and why I have a very strong, determined nature that can take me through the many trials of life. It is because of my ancestors and the resilience they
have shown that I am who I am.”
Then you wrote, Halito Gianna.: The Journey Continues. Tell us about it.
“On her journey, she was able to access online information and find out things she never envisioned. However, many of the questions she has remain unanswered until in the new book, Halito Gianna: The Journey Continues
Gianna Saldaña finds out about connections she never knew existed.”
Why did you get into writing and researching this information.
“I have been a family genealogist for over ten years now and have researched ways of finding out obscure information online. When my own children began to ask questions, I knew I needed to have the truth in hand. This gave me the idea of Gianna who is modeled after one of the students I worked with who is bright, articulate and curious.
There is a third book currently in the hands of my wonderful agent Jessica Schmedlier who works with Golden Wheat Literary Agency that promises an even better journey!
Becky, thank you so much for visiting today and telling us about these wonderful books.
These are great books for parents to get for their children.
Be sure and visit Becky at: