Diana Lee Santamaria is an educator and Latina children’s author of a bilingual preschool learning series entitled DLee’s World. Her books entitled, DLee’s Color Hunt, DLee’s Outdoor Countdown, DLee’s First Day of School, DLee’s Nighttime Scare, DLee’s Bad Day, and DLee’s Snow Day are the first six books of her preschool learning series based on the character DLee. DLee is a bright and quirky Hispanic girl with a passion for learning. The character was created to mirror the author’s childhood image however the storyline of DLee’s World incorporates the author’s experiences as a child, adult, and educator. Each character in the DLee’s World Series represents various ethnicities that are underrepresented in today’s children’s literature.
Ms. Santamaria has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education along with eight years of teaching experience. As a result of her education and professional experiences, the author has created the DLee’s World Series to incorporate preschool common core objectives, diversity, playful verbiage, and developmentally appropriate learning strategies to help increase reading comprehension and overall learning. As a child who struggled with reading and social identification, the DLee’s World Series is designed to promote literacy, diversity, and fun! To take it a step further, the author also developed her series to be bilingual with both the English and Spanish translations of the story on the same page. When asked, the author said, “My hopes are for my books to be tools for children and families to either learn a new language or for English Language Learners (ELL) to strengthen their knowledge of the English language with their educators at school and families at home.” Overall, as a woman of Hispanic descent, the author understands the importance of learning the Spanish language, and regrets that she was not taught as a child. Therefore, she has created the bilingual series as a way for children to learn a language that is becoming so widely used throughout the United States as well as many other countries.
On September 8, 2016, the author attended the International Latino Book Awards, winning in two categories for “DLee’s First Day of School” and “Un Mal Dia of DLee!” In June of 2017, Diana Santamaria has once again won an International Latino Book Awards for her bilingual book, “DLee’s Snow Day.” Furthermore, the story also won a Moonbeam Award in September 2017.
Information about DLee’s World can be found on www.dleesworld.com.