So here’s the problem. You’re teaching Spanish in highschool for a total of 24 years, and early on you notice your students are bored out of their minds. “I was, too,” says Jennifer Degenhardt. “I said, they need a story.” So she gathered up the “themes” and the vocabulary demanded by the curriculum and made up more interesting stories that put characters who mirrored her students--Hispanic, from underserved communities, a boy in a wheelchair, LGBTQ, or from economic disparities--and put them at the center of the action. “After three to four years of teaching [my first] book, I published it and kept writing,” says the author of now 17 books in Spanish, 6 in English, one in German, and three translated into French. Encouraged by her students, she self-published her first book on Kindle Direct, a subsidiary of Amazon. “It’s made my life very easy,” says Degenhardt. It’s a “step by step process...and you’re in charge of your own products and you can fix your own mistakes.” Her favorite quote which she put on her refrigerator and looked at every day? “If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working toward it.”  And that’s just what she did. 

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