How We Got Our Start
Veoleo, an indie press, was an idea born of love and honor. During January 2018, our grandfather, an immigrant from Colombia, passed away at 94. We inherited our innate curiosity from him and my grandmother: we are a family of educators, avid learners, lovers of languages and cultures. On the day of his funeral, we were discussing his many feats and favorite books. This conversation led to one of Janike’s struggles as a new mom seeking to raise a bilingual baby in the United States: she couldn’t find the right Spanish children’s books for her then 8-month-old. The Spanish children’s books that we found were either translations of North American children’s books only focused on basic concepts or picture books that were targeting higher-level readers. Something was missing from the selection being offered online and in stores.
As a new mom to a pre-verbal but soon-to-be bilingual child, Janike wanted books that would support his language acquisition. These books would be for his little hands, with simple storylines, interesting and colorful illustrations, and, most importantly, create a fictional world with authentic text in Spanish that spoke to our Latin American heritage.
That conversation concluded with a statement: we would create those books. Between Alexis’ extensive legal background and Janike’s as a scholar in Latin American language and culture, we had the professional skills and the drive to materialize our idea.
We launched Veoleo by October 2018. We formally launched our indie press with our first title, ¿Dónde está el coquí? Un cuento sobre una ranita cantante. Before launching, we decided our name, Veoleo; wrote a book; counted on friends for a crash course in branding and the magnificent logo; found our talented illustrator, Eduardo Espada; contacted a printer; established our social media presence and website; and, had the infinite support of family and friends. Happy coincidences and connections have spurred great developments for us and it has been heartwarming to see how friends cheer us on.
A fundamental component to Veoleo has also been to participate in our local community. Guided by Veoleo’s mission to support bilingual language learning, we decided to launch a Spanish storytime. In Atlanta, Janike gathers with other local families on the first Saturday of every month to sing and read in Spanish. It’s so fun to meet families, provide an engaging and fun space for everyone, and simply share our love for Latin American culture!
Veoleo is an independent publisher that sells Spanish board books for children. Being co-founded by two sisters, raised in Colombia and bilingual, our mission is to publish board books that support Spanish-speaking families and Spanish-learning families. Each board book we send out into the world will be: small in size for small hands; entirely in Spanish to emphasize language immersion; translated for reference; about irreverent characters; and infused with Latin American and Caribbean culture.
Content is what sets our board books apart. Each storyline is authentic (non-translations), based on Latin American and Caribbean culture in a format that is durable for young readers, and teaches basic concepts through level-appropriate grammar (falling in between popular basic one-word translations and complex sentence structures).
Veoleo’s board books teach each small reader about language and culture while opening the doors to imaginative exploration.