Picture it: me as I took a walk in Tallahassee, Florida. To my left, the sunset; its light rays reminded me of all the golds: rose, green, yellow. And to my right, the sky stretched open and cloudless in blue. It was an endless blue, and for some reason still mysterious to me, as I looked at that endless blue, I had an idea. I imagined a spacecraft in that sky. An extraterrestrial craft, to be precise.
I knew the spacecraft would crash, sending dust and sparks up like spirits. I knew the only passenger was an undocumented immigrant. And I knew she was looking for her daughter.
A little while later, another image arrived. That daughter, reading a letter in class to a boy who’d been hateful to her. I knew these were scenes from the same story, and I had to sit down and figure out how they connected.
I started Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything when my son was ten months old. I opened up a notebook from Target I got during a back-to-school sale and wrote longhand as he breastfed. I wrote as he napped, and when he decided napping was no longer for him, I pulled up a chair next to the kitchen sink to write as he bathed.
Sia Martinez became more than a labor of love for me. It grew into a story that revealed so many truths I hold close to my heart: the idea that this whole universe is holy. That all people and creatures are deserving of our respect. And that the bond between mother and child is fierce and unwavering.
Sia loves her father and her best friend and lighting candles in the desert to guide her mother home. Sia is powerful, angry, and wise. I hope you love her as I have come to love her. I hope her story startles you into remembering the wild magic of this world.
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
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