As a teacher at Kyrene de los Lagos Dual Language Academy in Ahwatukee, Diane Mylod teaches at a school where the motto is “The power of two languages. The power of two worlds.”
So, it is only natural that the Glendale native, who has lived in Ahwatukee for five years, chose to a) write a children’s book for her first foray into the world of authors; and b) has published both Spanish and English versions.
A three-year Kyrene veteran who is in her ninth year of teaching, Mylod has published “The Avocado Tree” – a semi-autobiographical book that is as rich in personal history as it is an introduction for little kids to lessons that will help them throughout their life.
“It is a book about my father, his avocado tree and my avocado tree,” Mylod explained. “One tree is in Glendale and the other is in Ahwatukee. It is a true story about life, grieving, prosperity, and life’s purpose.”
Her dad passed away five years ago and she wrote it on his birthday – Sept. 15 – last year.
Last week, she released the book on that same date, on what would have been her father’s 75th birthday.
Executing the book was a collaborative affair that pulled in her husband and sister-in-law as well as a colleague from Lagos Academy.
Her husband David Mylod and her Spanish teammate at Lagos, Andrea Perusquia, helped with the editing.
And while her sister-in-law, Moriah Mylod-Daggett also helped to edit, she had the big job of illustrating it.
She said she and Moriah “took quite some time deciding what type of illustrations we were going to use – and it is another thing that makes this book very special.
“Each is unique and hand-painted with watercolors and based on real images,” Diane continued. “Moriah painted the images in expressionism to convey the vibrancy of emotions, thoughts and sensations behind the words that surround this heartfelt story of life legacy.”
Moriah and Diane had known each other growing up in Glendale.
“I was drawn to her art and personality,” Diane said. “She now lives in Jersey and teaches art therapy, helps veterans in her community and is a yoga instructor.”
It was only a matter of time that Diane also met Moriah’s brother, whom she calls “my high school sweetheart.”
“We met at Glendale High School and have been together for 20 years and married for 11,” Diane continued. They have two sons, Justus, 10, and Roland, 6.
David also coaches for the Ahwatukee Little League and has been its vice president of operations – a position he is leaving because his coaching responsibilities are increasing.
The daughter of Guerrero, Mexico natives who moved to Glendale in 1980, five years before she was born, Diane is one of eight children.
“My mother never learned English and my father worked hard to become a U.S. citizen and have his own ‘farm’ in our Glendale home,” she said.
When she graduated from Arizona State University, Diane taught for six years at the Glendale school she attended as a little girl, and taught English for a year in 2016 in a refugee program for students from Syria, Iraq, and Mexico.
All that experience has been poured into “The Avocado Tree” – a reason she says, “Although the book is a children’s book, everyone should read it as it will touch the hearts of many…I believe this book will help many people with rediscovering meaning and life’s purpose.”
Meanwhile, she is working on a second children’s book that her fellow teacher Andrea Perusquia will illustrate.
“She was an art teacher before she became a Spanish teacher and has a very special Spanish style to her art,” Diane said.
And she’s also started a young adult book.
“That book will be about growing up in the 90s and diversity,” she explained. “It is about creating yourself in a world where everyone can feel different and where there can be misunderstandings about cultures.”
And she added, “That one is going to take a lot more time.”