My name is René Colato Laínez. I was born in El Salvador. Every Saturday, my mom and I went to her uncle’s house to wash his clothes. It was in this house, the house of Jorge Buenaventura Laínez, where I learned the word “escritor” (Writer). My mom's uncle was a famous writer, his poetry and prose is popular in Central America. I wanted to be like him. He is my inspiration.
I have been writing all my life. As a child, I wrote about my toys and school. As I grew older, El Salvador was involved in a civil war. My father and I had to leave the country to come to the United States. We had hard times on our way to Mexico City. My father lost all his money. He had to work to get more money and I was left alone in an old trailer that became our home. In that old trailer, I wrote and wrote in notebooks about my dreams, desires, adventures, etc. It was there, that I realized that I could be a writer. Four months later, we reached the city of Los Angeles.
In High School, my Spanish teacher read one of my short stories and invited me to participate in the Spanish school paper “La Voz Estudiantil” (The Student’s Voice). My articles and poems were published for three years. During High School and my college years, I wrote seven novels for adults: Lucia, Uncle, Crisis Times, Living in Another Life, Honey Moon in the Caribbean, Blessing or Sin, and Going North. All of them are in their first drafts. I wrote them for my friends and relatives.
When I was in college, I read my short story “Lágrimas de Sangre” (Blood Tears) to a group of theater students. One of the students approached me after my reading and told me that she had been looking for a story to perform to High School Students and that story was the perfect one. It was a great sensation to watch my own story on stage. Later on, another group of college students performed my story “Black Sheep Among White Lambs”. I have been a teacher for many years in a bilingual classroom. I have written many books for my students. Children at school know me as “the teacher full of stories.”
I wondered what I needed to do to publish my work. In 1996, I took the course “Writing for Children and Teenagers” with The Institute of Children’s Literature. But it was not until April 2001 that I started to submit my work. In the mean time, I have taken creative writing classes with Highlights Foundation, California State University at Northridge, UCLA, SCBWI, as well as with renowned bilingual children’s literature authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. I am a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children's literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the States.