Story and images originally published in Taos News
Photo: Enrico Trujillo
Local author launches bilingual book series
Meet Lovito, a spunky four-year-old boy-wolf who is the main character in a series of bilingual children’s books written by Ed Cardenas.
The thirteen books of the series are based on old dichos (proverbs).
The name “Lovito” is a combination of the English word “love” and the Spanish suffix “ito.”
“Together they become Lovito which means little love or amorcito,” said Cardenas. “It also sounds like lobito (little wolf) in Spanish.”
The stories are focused on building character development and life skills.
“Lovito sometimes gets in trouble,” Cardenas said, “but then he learns from his mistakes.”
Each book is accompanied by a song and a lesson plan —written by school teacher Pam Baca— that meets the common core standards so they can be easily used in the Dual Language Program.
“The whole packet is in English and in Spanish, not just the stories,” Cardenas said. “I want to thank Luis Moya, who provided technical guidance for the project, and Enrico Trujillo, who illustrated the books.”
Cardenas said he relished the opportunity to teach children respect for both languages.
“The Spanish and English languages, and the cultures they represent, offer a wealth of wisdom and knowledge when they are interfaced,” he said. “Also, at times, one or the other language clarifies a concept better than the other, which makes bilingualism a great learning tool.”
The series includes thirteen songs in English and thirteen in Spanish.
The music is Northern New Mexico and Spanish style and was produced and arranged by local Taoseños.
“Vito Trujillo, Sr. arranged the music, which was recorded by Vito Trujillo, Jr.,” said Cardenas. “It features the guitar of Vito Sr. accompanied by Johnny Archuleta on the guitarron, Audrey Davis on the violin, and Vito Trujillo, Jr. on the guitar. Special assistance on the song ‘Goals and Metas’ was provided by Vito Trujillo III, Kyra Trujillo, and Cheyenne Vargas. The main vocalist was Katie Duran from Denver, Colorado. Muchas gracias a todos. Thank you so much for everything.”
A native Taoseño, Ed Cardenas, LISW, got his Master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver, where he was the recipient of the Dorothea Spellman Award for his creativity in working with groups. He is a licensed trainer through the New Mexico Therapy and Practice Counseling Board.
“One reason I wrote the Lovito series is because I have always had children at heart,” said Cardenas. “When I was a graduate student at the University of Denver, my emphasis was in working with children and youth. I had a dream about someday writing children’s books and I am so happy I finally fulfilled it.”
Cardenas currently works as an instructor at UNM-Taos and trains substance abuse and grief counselors. He is also the author of Beach Ball – Balancing our Relationship World. He was recently featured in the film “On the Land” by Rites of Passage/ Imagica Films.
He plans to write more Lovito series about respecting diversity, grief and loss, and bullying, among other topics.
A labor of love
Cardenas says he wrote the Lovito stories as a labor of love. In 1999 he developed heart disease and a cardiologist told him that the only thing that would save him was love.
“I thought I would live like one year,” he said. “I knew my grandchildren truly loved me so I made it a point to visit with them for about two weeks. After each visit, I felt stronger and filled with their love. I then felt compelled to leave them my love by sharing with them the stories and truths I had learned in life. My hope is that such truths will be edifying to my grandchildren and the grandchildren of the world in their life’s journey.”
He also hopes that the Lovito books will inspire children, parents, and others to internalize the language of the heart.
“The language of the heart includes universal concepts such as love, respect, responsibility, generosity, truth, peace, and trust,” said Cardenas. “It is my opinion that, to better survive the social climate of our times, it is a must to return or start to personally practice the language of the heart, daily.”
The first book of the series, “Lovito Learns about Love and Telling the Truth” is now available on Amazon.com.