WITS writer and children’s book author Carmen Bernier-Grand visited Wilson High School students as part of Wilson’s Multicultural Literacy Day organized by school librarian Linda Campillo. Bernier-Grand grew up in Puerto Rico, but has lived with her husband and bilingual dog in Portland for many years.
During her presentation for Wilson students, Bernier-Grand shared photos and information about the history, culture, and diversity of Puerto Rico along with her personal family history. She studied math in college, and went on to teach it in both Puerto Rico and in the United States. After her children were born, Bernier-Grand put her natural storytelling propensities to use writing fiction.
Bernier-Grand is the author of eleven books for children and young adults. Three of her biographies have received Pura Belpré Author Honor Awards. In 2008, the Oregon Library Association’s Children’s Division gave her the Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award for her significant contributions to the children of Oregon in the field of children’s literature. In addition to being a WITS writer, she teaches writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program.
Bernier-Grand encouraged students to say yes to challenging situations, and emphasized her belief in the power of the written word. “I think we can solve a lot by writing,” she said during her visit at Wilson. “Minds can change by reading and writing.”