In this post María Cioè-Peña, the author of our 2021 book (M)othering Labeled Children, writes about the recently-finished Spanish translation of her book.
In Eric Alvarez’s 2021 review of my book, (M)othering Labeled Children (MLC), they wrote that MLC “will undoubtedly be an asset to researchers, policymakers, and teachers interested in bilingual education, disability studies, and special education.” I happily read on as Alvarez noted something that was important to me throughout the development of this manuscript: I wanted to produce a rich, complex, and jargon-free book accessible to teachers and service providers who may not be familiar with these mothers’ experiences and, simultaneously, had the capacity to enact change within their classrooms and institutions. However, Alvarez also noted that while MLC was accessible to some, by being available in English only, it ultimately alienated the families whose stories it tells adding that:
“to expand the book’s reach to the very people to whom it gives a voice, a future translation project into Spanish could be considered. If not, it seems that it will only perpetuate the marginalization of Latinx mothers…”
This perpetuation of marginalization through scholarship is an issue that I have raised in my own work, most notably in From Pedagogies to Research where I put forth a need to engage in culturally sustaining research practices that included “ensuring that participant communities have access to the knowledge they helped produce [… and] that the work is published in modes that are accessible and available to participants.” Within that piece I also shared that we should not “place fault solely on researchers, particularly researchers of color, who are bound to the ideology of ‘publish or perish’ to advance their careers.[…] experience[ing] pressure to disseminate their research products in prestigious venues over those that might directly benefit the communities they work alongside.” Which brings me to a guarded, but important, truth: I wrote MLC because my advisors demanded it of me, for the sake of my career and this content. I wrote MLC for professional growth, both mine and that of Emergent Bilingual Learners Labeled as Dis/abled (EBLAD)s’ teachers and service providers. Still, I knew that I wanted a translation to exist for the women who shared their stories, the parents navigating schooling experiences with their EBLADs today, and for the people who poured into me throughout my life (i.e. my Spanish-using aunts, uncles, and cousins) but especially, my own mother.
In late 2020, once the final manuscript for MLC was submitted, I identified and hired a translator, Pedro Guzmán. As much as we wanted the Spanish release to coincide with the English one, that wasn’t possible as we continued navigating work/life amid a pandemic. Alvarez’s review did not reach me until June 2022 but I am grateful for it because it motivated us to finish and on July 1st Criando Niños Etiquetados: Discapacidad y bilingüismo en la vida de madres latinxs became available for FREE. Parents can download a PDF, EPUB, or MOBI version straight from their phones. Ultimately, this translation was a labor of love: my amazing translator Pedro Guzmán refused to take payment, which removed all overhead costs, and the first reader was my mother who, while undergoing cancer treatment at the time, said she felt like it reflected so much of her experience. Her reading it and feeling seen was/is a gift.
I hope Criando Niños Etiquetados will help other parents and families of EBLADs feel seen.
You can access Criando Niños Etiquetados here.
The original English language text (M)othering Labeled Children is available on our website.