SpanglishBaby Co-Founder and 'Bilingual is Better' Co-Author Ana Flores Talks Bilingualism and Using the Flipboard App
SpanglishBaby co-founder and "Bilingual is Better" co-author Ana Flores grew up con un pie aquí y otro allá (with one foot here and there). Since childhood, the Houston-born online media socialite has been divided between the U.S. and El Salvador, where her parents are from, but has reconciled being the product of two nations, cognizant that a bicultural identity is valuable.
By the time Flores' parents divorced and she and her sister moved to El Salvador with their mother, she owned both Spanish and English as native languages, learning them in school and speaking them at home. Her father, who remained in Houston, often sent for Flores and her sister, so the two traveled back and forth between the countries, eventually becoming "in tune with the cultures from both side of the borders."
Flores' experience as a bilingual, bicultural and binational Latina encouraged her to create content for Latinos in the U.S. and in Latin America, and it pushed her to share her thoughts on bilingual education because she knew that "the benefits of being bilingual and bicultural are huge."
"I want my daughter to have as much of that upbringing as possible. Not speaking Spanish to her was never an option since my husband and I speak Spanish at home and it's definitely our language of love and the direct connection to our culture and family," Flores told Latin Post.
Flores shared that SpanglishBaby, which triggered the production of "Bilingual is Better," was born out of a need to ensure that her daughter was raised "completely bilingual and bicultural." And being proactive about finding the best tools, resources and community was vital when making that happen. Flores and her co-founder found other parents who were experiencing a similar need and want, and they developed SpanglishBaby.
SpanglishBaby was launched in 2009, and just five years later, Flores has become an authority on in-home bilingual education, though she's made the distinction that she and her partner are "not the experts, but two passionate moms on a mission."
Both SpanglishBaby and Latina Bloggers Connect were launched with absolutely no money during the midst of the recession, which had financially rattled Flores' family. The growth of both sites continued without loans or investment, and with a great deal of competition. Flores credits her success to being honest with her path, her struggles and celebrating her accomplishments and those of others.
More recently, Flores has also credited Flipboard, a personalized news aggregating app, for helping her to access insight online and helping her to share more content with her audience. The application serves as a single destination for discovering, collecting and sharing content, curated by individual users for particular interests.
"To be honest, I have a hard time going to just one particular source all the time. I'm always a bit eclectic when it comes to information, music, art and such. So I love that with Flipboard I can constantly discover new content through various social platforms and magazines I follow. I love being able to find content through those in my network I trust," said Flores, whose Flipboard magazine is titled Spanglish Life.
Flipboard offers content in English and in Spanish (which 15 percent of Flipboard readers in the U.S. prefer) and readers are able to find articles from countries in Latin America, revealing information that can't be accessed through traditional media in the U.S. Also, Flores offered that her favorite feature was the ability to "create magazines and to follow someone I like and be able to read what they read. I love that connection!"
Numerous Latino celebrities have their own curated magazines, including Ismael Cala (Cala en Flipboard), Doctora Aliza (En Cuerpo y Alma), Chef Pepín (Con Chef Pepín Hasta El Fín), Ariel Coro (Digital-Mente), León Krauze (Epicenter), Alfonso De Anda, a.k.a. "Poncho,"Pla(N)eta and Lionel Messi (Choose to Believe/Elegí creer). Leading news publications such as CNN en Español, FOX News Latino, Huffington Post Latino Voices and CNET en Español, Esquire Latinoamérica, Milenio, Excélsior and Variety Latino also use Flipboard, turning photos, stories and features "into a beautiful and immersive experience."
"[I'm] 100 percent acculturated. I know no other way. My Flipboard magazines reflect that, especially the "SpanglishLife" one. I'm a Latina that feels 100 percent connected to her roots and misses her country every single day, yet loves the opportunities, diversity and liberty this country offers," said Flores. "Being able to share on Flipboard in two languages and grab from many countries has allowed me to share more of the reality of who I am and how I see life."