There are friend groups to navigate. There are bullies to manage or avoid. Maybe your dad is sick or your mom just lost her job. Anxiety creeps in. Maybe you start to act up in class, or maybe your grades slip. Enter the school counselor. Are there resources for you and your caring counselor? Gabi Garcia s the world Gabi Garcia wants to change.
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A yoga practitioner and mindfulness enthusiast, Garcia is also mother to 6-year-old Liliana. She sat down with us recently to talk about her work. AFM: What drew you to counseling? Garcia: I was a Gabi Garcia teacher in Houston, and I saw a huge need for services for Spanish-speaking students that was not being met — and probably continues not to be met, because there are not enough bilingual counselors.
I did my first counseling job here in Austin at Oak Springs Elementary. I was Gabi Garcia school counselor there for four years. AFM: What prompted you to write?
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Garcia: Trying to find resources in Spanish is so hard. So about 10 years ago, I created a mockup.
I just illustrated it myself with stick figures. And I started using that with the students.
Author Gabi Garcia Finds Her “Wow” Through Self-Publishing | Austin Family Magazine
Gabi Garcia I put it away. I had my daughter. Life got in the way. That was the book called Listening to My Body. I wanted kids to have a vocabulary for that in the same way they have a Gabi Garcia for their emotions. I really enjoy the writing process. My second book came fairly quickly. I saw in the schools that we spend a lot of time talking to kids about how to be friends to other people, but not about how to be kind to themselves. I was working with kids who were fairly young and had really negative self-talk.
It happens early. AFM: What has been your experience with self-publishing? I realized early on when I was looking into doing traditionally-published submissions, just what a process it is. One of the things I wanted to do is have characters and faces that kids are going to see themselves in.
Something I do for all my books is a free reader activity guide.
This is the educator in me, that wants the teacher or the counselor to have ready-made lessons that go with the book. I put a lot of time and energy into those. I create posters and a good packet of material that I think will be useful, because Gabi Garcia know how hard that is. Then I work with an editor.
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I find the illustrator, because every Gabi Garcia I envision differently. I have a Facebook page. I have a newsletter. Gabi Garcia advertise. So as he sits and sulks, his window fogs up, and he goes to clean it off and starts doodling. AFM: Do you ever hear from readers about your books?
Gabi Garcia I was working in the schools when my first two books came out, so I got to use them. And my colleagues used them as well. I heard from a lot of educators and parents that they found them to be useful. Facebook has Gabi Garcia me with people from all over the world. In the last 10 years, the world of mindfulness here in the States has really exploded. Now the same thing is happening everywhere else. It has been incredibly gratifying to hear from people who found any of my books useful.
So, my words of advice would be to do it.
Author Gabi Garcia Finds Her “Wow” Through Self-Publishing
Just get it out, get it on paper. I think everybody who wants to write a book should.
Sherida Mock, editor of Austin Family Magazine. All rights reserved.