The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a traditional Catholic holiday. See the pictures of the monument of La Sirena De Hurtado located at the edge of the Guatapurri River in Valledupar, Colombia. Every summer, the swimming basin attracts hundreds of tourists who want to see the monument of the mermaid and swim in the crystal blue waters of this legendary river.
"'The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid,' takes place in a town called Valledupar, where a girl named Judith lives with her brother Tomas, and family. In this town there's a legend that goes way back in time; the legend of the Colombian mermaid La Sirena. The legend that runs is that one Good Friday many years ago a town girl disobeyed the rules and went into river, causing her to change into a mermaid. It is said that if La Sirena catches other children in the river at the wrong time, she steals them and turns them into mermaids as well." - Reader Views Kids -
Janet was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Colombian and Puerto Rican parents. She was raised Catholic, grew up in Queens, and moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 1993. She graduated from Barry University with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and American College of Education with a master's degree in Educational Leadership. Janet worked as an Administrative Assistant and K-2 ESOL Teacher for Palm Beach County Schools from 1993 to 2006. She currently works as a bilingual first-grade teacher and lives with her family in Port St. Lucie, FL. She was inspired by her family to write her first children's book, The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid in 2013. Janet won the Mariposa International Latino Book Award for her book, The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid translated into Spanish by Maritza M. Mejia as La Leyenda de la Sirena Colombiana in June 2015. Recently, her book won 1st place in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards for Cultural Diversity from Five Star Publications in June 2016. Janet wrote her second book, The Legend of Roberto Cofresi - A Puerto Rican Hero, a story of the famous corsair from Puerto Rico, in August 2015. It also won an award for Best Latino Focused Book from the International Latino Book Awards in June 2016. This book was translated into Spanish by Ana Morris. Janet is passionate about literacy with legends in particular. She hopes her books will inspire children to develop an appreciation for bilingual and multicultural literature.
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