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Self-published HSU student writes about the immigrant experience

Humboldt State University student, Joelle Jimenez, self-published her children’s book about the immigrant experience “The Ant Story”. The book, published through the school’s own press, was originally created and written for an American Government project.

Jimenez’s story, told in rhyme, follows a group of ants as they go on their journey to find a new land for their anthill after their home was destroyed by the stomp of a shoe. The ants come across a beautiful land, but are shunned by the other insects and critters of the new land.

The story also expands on the experience with showing prejudice. Mo is a spider who hates the ants. Mo represents “the anti-immigrant view we have in the U.S. and is a reflection of our [now former] president, Donald Trump,” Jimenez writes in her depictions paper she sent in with the final project.

“We had the option of writing this long extensive essay and I just never really been into politics like that,” Jimenez said. 

Professor Nicola Walters gave the class an alternative. The instructions just required the project to be creative and about politics. 

“Most projects have a miniature proposal saying why this is a personable project,” Walters said. “Some people have done paintings, written songs and podcasts. Joelle is an incredible example on how to use the class content to create.”

Jimenez was raised in Corona, California, which is home to a large number of immigrants and her parents are both immigrants from Mexico. 

“I always grew up around immigrants and it’s something that’s deep in my heart, so I wanted to center it on this,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez began to work on the project mostly with no intention of it being published. Professor Walters who assigned the project was impressed.

“Some students have had their art displayed in department rooms. I’m always like, ‘hey, you made this incredible thing, Let’s try to polish it’,” Walters said. “I have always heard about how there are these resources on how to publish something and got her in contact with the press.” 

Jimenez worked alongside Laiza Pacheco to get the design and layout done for print and publication. The reaction has been positive since the release of the project.

“My parents have been happy. I have an 8-year-old sister and they’ve been reading it to her,” Jimenez said. “Friends and family have been saying ‘You should write another one’.”

“I posted it on Facebook to share with colleagues and friends and people have been astounded,” Walters said.

“The Ant Story” is available to download via HSU Press for all university students and available to purchase on Amazon.

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