New children’s coaching book teaches lessons in two languages

Just Bee, a new children’s book by Saul Serna, written in both English and Espanol, serves as a guide to empower children to better accept who they are and to embrace, enjoy and celebrate diversity. The two main characters are Papi—a Hispanic brown-eyed boy bee, and Honey—an American blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl bee—who teach one another about their respective cultures, and discover that they are much better together than either of them would ever be alone.

“The children really connected with this book! Just Bee embodies everything that our school represents—promoting self-esteem and fostering respect and tolerance for all. It is a powerful message,” said the principal of the New York City public school where the book was first introduced.

The hardbound 114-page book (plus four pages of stickers) is expected to retail for $24.95. Just Bee is targeted primarily to children from 6-12 years old, but has been well received by Hispanic and American children of all ages. The warm, humorous illustrations perfectly complement the lively text and bring Papi and Honey to life.

“This book is semi-autobiographical,” says Serna. “I came to this country as a young man and have attained my Latin American dream. With this book, I am hoping to empower not only Hispanic children, but children of all races and cultures to celebrate diversity and to be the very best that they can be.”

Serna was born in Bogota, Colombia, South America, and always hoped to be able to come to the United States. He arrived here as an exchange student in 1981, but returned to Bogota to attend the university, where he earned two master’s degrees, one in business and one in international marketing.

Serna felt that his opportunities in Colombia were limited, and once he graduated, he returned to the United States, determined to achieve what he calls the “Latin American Dream.” Although he spoke little English, he accepted the challenge and got a job busing tables in a restaurant for $3.25 an hour. He worked diligently, continuing to learn the language, and eventually obtained an opportunity from a real estate broker whom he was serving in the restaurant. This man had a Hispanic client who didn’t speak English and asked if Serna would be willing to translate for him. Serna did so, and later obtained his real estate license.

Concentrating on his strengths rather than his weak English, Serna reached out to the Hispanic community and was very successful. He was named Rookie of the Year, selling 84 homes in his first year, and sold more than 120 homes every year thereafter. He is a member of Century 21’s Hall of Fame and was named “Today’s Realtor” by the National Association of Realtors in 1997.

Later, he decided to expand his horizons by reaching out to professional people and corporations. Serna teaches corporations how to build Latin divisions within their companies so they can better serve their local Hispanic communities. He also helps major corporations attract and hire Latin/Hispanic employees. Saul Serna’s copyrighted “got Latin?” sales training and coaching program has been implemented by a number of Fortune 100 companies.

The book is available for purchase at as well as through

From the Dec. 14-20, 2005, issue

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