Cristina Sicard recently graduated from the University of Georgia (Go, Dawgs), attaining a Master of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education preK-5. She considers herself a “Bob-Dawg” because she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University (Go, Bobcats). Going from Athens, Ohio, to Athens, Georgia, resulted in all kinds of crazy, beautiful moments.
Last year, Cristina published her first children’s book, “Harmony,” about the most lovable llama she actually met named Harmony in Somerset, Ohio. The story follows Harmony, who has a hard time accepting aspects of his life, such as being away from family. Parts of Cristina’s life are reflected in this narrative, helping her and hopefully those who need to reflect from time to time on what good we do have.
One of her dreams is to teach and empower young leaders while continuing to publish children’s books. Having all of her extended family live in the Dominican Republic, Cristina aspires to use her bilingualism with her students and the stories she shares. Be prepared for her second book, “Sábana the Sloth,” involving Spanish phrases, her Mami’s brilliant illustrations and a voice for mental health.
Cristina is from the Canton/Stark County area.
What is the first book you remember reading?
“Colección Mundo Maravilloso” by Scholastic or First Discovery Series introduced me to every topic imaginable in Spanish with the glossiest and prettiest pages. I also remember “Cocoa Ice” by Diana Appelbaum (56 pages, 1997) as the first book I fell in love and related with because it told a story of two girls having commonalities despite their distance. One of the girls is from the United States and the other is from Santo Domingo!
What book got you interested in your career?
“Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans (56 pages,1939) defined my childhood and prompted me to create my own version of the picture book as a kid with Mam as the illustrator.
What is the book that shocked you the most?
I will always remember my fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Elson passing out tissues as events in “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls (273 pages, 1961) transpired.
What is your guilty pleasure book?
As a kiddo, my eyes were glued to any “Chicken Soup for the Soul”; however, I will say I never grew out of the “Frog and Toad” series by Arnold Lobel. They are just as funny to this day.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Ah, the challenging-to-narrow-down author question … that person is constantly evolving for me depending on what is going on in my life. Yet, Gail Gibbons and Eric Carle remain some of my favorites. Gibbons because I found comfort in learning so much from her books and Carle because his work and tissue paper art mesmerized me. Recently, I built a redefined love for Julia Alvarez because she and her stories are relatable, dynamic and powerful.
What section of the library or bookstore do you visit first?
I still see myself sprinting up the North Canton Library’s blue Lego-like stairs with my little brother Guillo to check out the best children’s department. No matter where, I always head to the children’s section to embark on my next journey or ideas for other stories.
What is your favorite book twist?
“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott (759 pages, 1869) is one heck of a twisty, emotional and breathtaking roller coaster.
What is next up on your reading list?
Currently, I am cleaning out my childhood closet; therefore, I am rereading my Book Fair books such as “Penny from Heaven” by Jennifer L. Holm (282 pages, 2006) and “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White (196 pages, 1952). I need to read Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” (463 pages, 2018) pronto.
What book would you take to a deserted island?
“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes (863 pages, 1605) … JUST KIDDING. I may take “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” by Amy Morin (pages, 2017).
What is the last book you read?
“Dibs in Search of Self” by Virginia Axline (224 pages, 1964), proving to be a book I want the world to read. It is a moving story of struggle and empathy.