Interview: Be Brave Author Shares Native American Pride Through First Book

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F. Anthony Falcon is a proud Native American who believes in being brave.

This Texan wrote a book showing how powerful bravery is. It is called Be Brave, Be Brave, Be Brave: A True Story of Fatherhood and Native American Heritage. It was released six months ago. He said he wrote the book for his son Lakota, who was born during Hurricane Harvey. But the author said the message of the book is for anyone.

F. Anthony Falcon said he has written two more children’s books, but between working at an AT&T retail store and spending time with his wife Victoria and his son, “finding time to write is challenging.”

“I made the decision to try to spend as much time with him as possible so I only write when he is asleep,” he said. “This is the type of father I have chosen to be and it’s worth it to see every smile and get every hug.”

Read on to learn more this author and Native American Heritage Month, which ends today. Also, scroll to the end of the interview to see pages from the book showing cool art by the illustrator, Trisha Mason.

Question: Tell me a little about your book. What do you want readers to take out of your book?

Answer: Be Brave, Be Brave, Be Brave tells the story of my son Lakota’s arrival during the events of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in South Texas. It also highlights the struggles of Native Americans in the past and how they are and have always been a brave people.

My hope was to pass on the pride I have of my Native American heritage and show Lakota examples of bravery and how they are connected to him.

The book has so many lessons packed into it and I believe it is unique in that sense. Of course, bravery is the main focus but there is also overcoming adversity, the sense of community, identity, heritage, family, parenthood and Native American history all set during a natural disaster. Anyone who reads Be Brave can find something for them in this little picture book.

Q: Is your book geared toward young readers or older readers?

A: The book is a picture book so its intended audience is younger readers. However, the many messages of the book appeal to readers of all ages.

For children it is meant to show them they can be brave as they go through life and they have people who will be there for them if they cannot be brave.

For older readers, it should remind them of their journey and how they have found the strength to be brave when the have faced adversity. When parents read this book to their own children, I hope it inspires them to share their own stories and family history with their son or daughter.

Q: What is the significance of Native American Heritage Month?

A: It is extremely important for individuals in the country to be aware of the struggles of Native American people in the past and today. These brave people are the First People of this country and have been the mistreated, force removed for their land, killed and marginalized for over two hundred years in this country alone.

Native American Heritage Month should open a dialogue about not only these struggles but about negative stereotypes, misappropriation and issues these Native American communities face. One I have recently learned of is MMIW, which stand for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. The numbers of Indigenous women and girls who are affected are staggering. If you look up or research one thing from this interview, make it MMIW.

Q: Why is bravery so important to you and other than the hurricane, is there another time you had to be brave?

A: Bravery is something we need with us as we navigate life. As we grow and experience the good life has to offer, inevitably we will also experience the bad. Those are the times we will have to be brave.

As a child it could be standing up in front of your class and reading your paper or participating in a school play. Bullying is ever present in schools today it seems more than ever and you have to be brave to stand up for yourself or for someone who cannot.

As we get older it shifts to playing sports, helping someone in need and for many putting your life on the line for another person. Each level of bravery prepares you for the next bigger example and helps to mold you into the person you become.

Q: Are you planning to write more books?

A: I have written two more children’s books. One is a bully story with a Native American child as the protagonist and a book centered on siblings in the adoption process.

I am also working on a Native American Super Hero story that I believe will be groundbreaking. It is seen as a graphic novel and I have an amazing Native American artist I am looking at to illustrate it. I am very excited about this story in particular. 

Q: What advice do you have for people who want to write books?

A: Go for it! Just write! I have met many people who have asked me for advice and to me it is very simple, put the pen to paper and just start writing.

If you have a great idea or story write it down and explore it. Don’t wait or put it off because you could have the next big thing. Write what you like and are passionate about that way it’s fun and genuine. It will show in your writing and story, plus you will enjoy it so much more.

Also, keep a pen and paper with you and write down whatever comes to mind. Once you begin your writing process, don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect, you can edit and adjust later. Get the original story down and go from there. There is no wrong way to write so throw all of the detractors out of the window. The story is what is important, not how it is written.

Q: What is one of your favorite memories about a book you read?

A: While in 4th grade in Fresno, I had a teacher who would have a profound impact on me as a reader and a writer. We read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck in her class and then she took us to Monterrey, California to the actual Cannery Row. It was an amazing trip and I learned so much from her.

Q: What is your favorite children’s book and why?

A: I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is my favorite children’s book. When we first got back home from San Antonio with Lakota, life was very crazy. When things got into a routine, I read him his first book. It was I Love You Forever and by the end I was in tears.

The story follows a mother who tells her son a rhyme every night called I Love You Forever as she rocks him to sleep. Continuing through the different ages and stages of his life, she is always there to rock him and sing the rhyme to him. Eventually, she becomes too old to rock him and at that point he rocks her and sings her the rhyme followed by him going home to do the same for his own child.

It’s an amazing story of love and life which we can all relate to, especially for new parent experiencing the gift of having children. If you have never read it, you need to!

Cover of F. Antony Falcon’s book.
A page from the Be Brave book.
This is an illustration of F. Anthony Falcon, his wife Victoria and son Lakota.

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