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California radio host Argelia Atilano publishes a bilingual book for children highlighting the achievements of 12 enterprising U.S.-born Latinas.
California radio host Argelia Atilano published a bilingual book for children highlighting the achievements of 12 U.S.-born Latina entrepreneurs. Photo: Twitter

'Grandes Dreamers': The story of 12 successful Latina women brought together in a children's book

Well-known California radio host Argelia Atilano published a bilingual book for children highlighting the achievements of 12 U.S.-born Latina entrepreneurs.

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Her name may not sound familiar to Philadelphia readers, but Argelia Atilano is a well-known businesswoman, and radio and television broadcaster of Mexican descent in California, who is not only content to appear in the media, but also writes books.

Her latest book is titled Grandes Dreamers, which she presented last weekend at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC).

Atilano is known for having been the host for 18 years of the Omar y Argelia, show that airs on Mega 96.3 FM radio every morning Monday through Friday starting at 6 a.m. 

Now, Atilano has taken a turn in her career to become an author, a career that began a few years ago with the release of Amor al Aire, a book she co-wrote with her husband, fellow broadcaster Omar Velasco. It narrated, in an entertaining and chronological way, everything that was their love story — their challenges, their achievements and even the falls the couple had to overcome to become the most successful radio couple in Los Angeles, according to the LA Times.

In 2021, she launched a new project for children, Grandes Dreamers, a bilingual book highlighting the lives, careers and innovative achievements of 12 Latina entrepreneurs born in the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Illustrated by artist Anna Alvarado, Grandes Dreamers focuses on the lives of outstanding women in the world of sports, journalism, science, aviation, activism, politics, aerospace, the arts and literature. They are Ellen Ochoa, Laurie Hernandez, Selena Quintanilla Perez, Sonia Sotomayor, Maria Elena Salinas, Olga Custodio, Sandra Cisneros, Jennifer Lopez, Dolores Huerta, Rita Moreno, Sylvia Acevedo and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — 12 women who made history and fill the pages of this unique book that "Latinos can be proud of," Atilano, who was also known as the 'Chica del Cine' on Primer Impacto, told the LA Times.

As she told the LA Times, the idea for the book began to take shape in 2018, from a conversation Atilano had with one of her daughters who was assigned a homework assignment in school in which they had to highlight the work of celebrated women who were born in this country and managed to mark a milestone in the history of the country. To her surprise, the list her little girl had drawn up did not include any Latinas.

"This can't be," she thought. So she began to make a list of her own, which would end up shaping Grandes Dreamers.

The book is aimed especially at children between eight and 12 years of age, a crucial age where they begin to ask and question: "Where do I really come from, where does my mom and my grandmother come from? And why do we celebrate this day and why these colors?" said Atilano, convinced of the importance of children having references to American women with deep roots like herself.

Following the success of Grandes Dreamers, Atilano is finalizing details for the release of Grandes Dreamers II.

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