Mom, teacher, and #ownvoices author

Arlene is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She currently lives in Southern California with her husband who is from Mexico, where they are raising their three multicultural children and a pet tarantula.

A daughter of Cuban immigrants who bravely came from the Caribbean Sea. As a young girl, Arlene loved to read books and watch I Love Lucy. Ricky Ricardo was her favorite Cuban on television.

Arlene was bullied in elementary school. Her bullies threw food in her hair, plopped wet balls of napkins over the bathroom stall—kicked, pushed Arlene in the playground. One day, as one of them pulled out her hair, Arlene cried and said, “But we are all more alike than different.” The bully spit in her face. Not one teacher or adult helped. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, bullying was seen as a right of passage. Advocacy for diversity was nonexistent.

Arlene often thinks about what her bullies might have been experiencing to want to hurt her. She prays for their peace and healing.

Arlene writes to ignite inclusion and for her family’s brave journey of freedom from Cuba to the United States.

A field trip to the zoo + bully classmate.
“Go back to the flock—ugly flamingo. No one likes you.”
It was true. Thanks to my strange, lanky legs and quirkiness.
Turns out, this flamingo analogy was a beautiful alignment to my Taíno roots (indigenous natives of the Caribbean).