LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The co-founders of Lil' Libros said their idea stemmed from a need for books teaching children with Latin American roots that they have a lot to be proud of.
Patty Rodriguez remembers growing up not finding her story reflected in books, feeling shame as a child.
"I grew up feeling ashamed of being a daughter of immigrants and it's something that I, as a parent, I do not want my children to ever feel," Rodriguez said.
During her pregnancy, Rodriguez worked to fill her future child's library with books celebrating their Mexican heritage.
"Well, those books didn't exist. All that was available were bilingual books, but they were really translations-so the classics like 'Where the Wild Things Are,' 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,' but those books are not a reflection of our culture," Rodriguez said.
Taking it upon themselves to fix this, Rodriguez and her friend, Ariana Stein, pitched their idea to publishers across the country. The rejection was discouraging.
"I even began believing those nos and it took a lot of self-searching within myself to realize that I can turn that no into a yes," Rodriguez said.
Deciding to do it on their own, the two mothers started Lil' Libros in 2014.
Their mission was to introduce children to bilingualism and Latin American culture through picture board books. These books are about traditions and towns throughout Latin America that fill little Latino, Latina and Latinx children with pride.
English and Spanish about popular and historic Latin American figures like Ritchie Valens, Selena Quintanilla, Frida Kahlo and Dr. Ellen Ochoa are empowering.
Following a boy's journey through his emotions opens the door for a conversation on mental health.
"It allows children to see themselves in spaces that maybe only one can dream of. It creates a generation who is proud of being who they are, unapologetically," Rodriguez said.
Lil' Libros has sold more than 1.5 million children's books worldwide.
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