Campus: CSU Fullerton -- May 20, 2005

Cal State Fullerton Alumna Dedicates Book to Education Faculty

"Not only did I receive a wonderful education from the faculty at Cal State Fullerton, I received self-confidence, a greater understanding of how children learn and the desire to mentor student teachers," said author and Cal State Fullerton alumna Jane Medina of Orange.

Medina recently celebrated the publication of her second children's book, "The Dream on Blanca's Wall," and dedicated it to the faculty in the CSUF College of Education. (The book is being considered for the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, which was established to encourage authors, illustrators and publishers of books that authentically reflect the the lives of Mexican American children and young adults in the United States.)

An elementary school teacher for 28 years, Medina completed her master of science in education-elementary curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in diversity in 1999. She has always taught in schools where the majority of her students came from low-income, Hispanic families, so Medina has long been aware of the needs and concerns of her students.

"Prior to starting my master's, I transferred to a school that segregated English learners into classes that only taught ESL…no other subjects. I was shocked that my 9- and 10-year-old students couldn't read," she said. "I was incensed that they were considered second-class citizens, consigned to separate and unequal classrooms."

A desire to "understand the injustice" these children suffered led Medina to earn her graduate degree. Around this time, she also began writing poetry about her students' struggles - as a means to "get out my emotions."

Those experiences led to the publication of her first book, "My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River," the story of a young boy and his experiences of being an immigrant child in school.

Her second book focuses on the story of a sixth-grade girl, Blanca, who wants to be a teacher. However, she notices that none of the teachers in her school are brown-skinned like she is. The story culminates when a Hispanic student teacher arrives and Blanca learns that she can, indeed, follow her dream of becoming a teacher. Boyds Mills Press published both books.

"I wanted to dedicate this book to the faculty at Cal State Fullerton because of their belief in me," she said. "In my book, I create a teacher who encouraged Blanca in a way I was never encouraged in least until I got to Cal State Fullerton. I think every student deserves to be encouraged by at least one teacher. I was in my 40s before I found the teachers to encourage me. I am so thankful to them."

Media Contact: Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4540 or

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