'There's always hope': Tucson author's kid's book on devastating Mexico City earthquake
Frightening events can bring communities together. They can also inspire story ideas. For author and educational psychologist Cynthia Harmony, the earthquake that struck Mexico City in September 2017 moved her to write her first children's picture book, "Mi Ciudad Sings."
Harmony is from Mexico City, but by the time of the Puebla earthquake occurred, she was already living in Tucson. Still, her family and loved ones were living in Mexico City. Although she wasn't there, she "followed the events" through her family.
Witnessing the way everyone in her community reacted during those hard times motivated her to write.
"I began writing the book after the earthquake," Harmony said. "I saw how everybody came together and helped each other."
"Mi Ciudad Sings" — which was published at the same time as the Spanish version, "Mi Ciudad Canta" — tells the story of a young girl and her dog living in Mexico City when the earthquake hit. The story follows them as people come together to rebuild their city.
Harmony said the it is a story of "kindness and generosity." "Mi Ciudad Sings", which was illustrated by Teresa Martinez, was published by Penguin Random House on June 14, 2022, after more than four years in the making.
"My mom is so happy," Harmony said. "And my kids — they're a little tired of hearing about it — but they're so proud."
Harmony will be making two appearances soon. She will be part of Barrio Books' Author Series, presenting her book at the Hotel McCoy's Conference Center on Saturday. They will be giving away free pan dulce and goodies.
Then on August 20, Harmony will be featured at Barnes and Noble's In-Person Story Time at Foothill Mall.
"What I hope the readers take away with them is that there's always hope," Harmony said. "There's always hope and kindness."
Bianca Morales is TucsonSentinel.com’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.