Selected Works

Science, Nature, Intermediate school readers
They live in the most extreme places on earth. How do they survive?
Memoirs and Biographies
An inspirational memoir of the highest ranking woman in the martial art of Kuk Sool Won. (teens and up)
Science, Medicine, Health
Learn the possible causes of autism and Asperger Syndrome, new treatments and diagnostic tools, and more in this insightful overview. (teens and up)
Science, Intermediate school readers
Pinguins puke (their chicks love it!), chameleons have a super tongue, alligators have good "feelings," a master of disguise, and how to catch a rainbow! Five fascinating animal secrets and how scientists uncovered them.
What is the secret of the sleepless whales?Join the scientists and their animal partners in a amazing adventure that will reveal the secrets of these amazing aquatic mammals! Find out... (middle-school and up)
It doesn't look cool and it doesn't feel pleasant, but it rules everything you do. The brain is the most intriguing and still mysterious organ in the body. Follow fellow classmate Mark through a regular day and see how his brain makes it possible for him to learn, feel pain, get stressed, and have fun. (middle school and up)
The fascinating life of the 19th Century British doctor who discovered the first safe vaccine against smallpox, the most deadly disease of his time.
Periodicals: Fiction
A short fictional story of a young girl who does not want to dive. Inspired in "The Iron Butterfly."
Periodicals: Nonfiction
The story of how 19th century Spanish orphans carried a life-saving vaccine in their bodies to America.
Periodicals: Nonfiction
“I found it cool that lion’s health can be determined by its looks.”
--Keegan, age 12

The Iron butterfly blog

You have not read anything like this before! The Iron Butterfly is the True Story of a Mermaid's Daughter

July 2, 2011

Tags: iron butterfly, choon ok harmon, ana maria rodriguez, mermaid's daughter, women martial arts memoirs, Korean women, women free divers, dyspraxia, dyslexia, inspirational stories, motivational stories

Very few stories are about women who quietly achieve great things. These women believe their story is not important to others than her and maybe her immediate family and friends. They do not believe that they have achieved outstanding goals. They believe their patience and perseverance was simply blessed with luck. Sometimes, these women are ashamed of what they had to go through in life and do not want others to know. But when an outsider learns about what they have done, how they have done it, and the immense dedication and resolution these women must have within to achieve a better life, then outsiders are in awe and wonder, what would I have done if I had been in her shoes? When the outsider is a writer who wants to share with the world the good things its inhabitants have to offer, then the writer must write these women's stories.
Lucky I was one day when I met one of these outstanding women. She is the martial arts instructor of my sons. She did not want her personal story to become public. She did not want anybody to know about the endless obstacles she had to overcome and her most traumatic personal secrets. Finally, she agreed to place her concerns aside and tell me her story and we have written a book together. She told me her story, and I wrote it. On March 2011 we will celebrate the 6th anniversary of the beginning of our project with the release of her book. We are thrilled!

Her name is Choon-Ok Harmon and she was born in a time and place where a woman's destiny was determined by tradition. She did not want that destiny to be hers. Her dramatic childhood experiences had convinced her the hard way that life had to be better than being hungry, extremely cold, and worrying for her personal safety all the time. She did not know how, but she would find a way to live better when she grew up. And she did. But she did it in a way so unusual, so against tradition that it proves that real life stories are many times better than fiction. She is living proof that 'when there is a will, there is a way.' I have been changed by her story; by the experience of knowing her deeply inside. My problems seem tiny compared to hers. I feel inspired to find a solution to the obstacles life presents along my journey. As she says, "Just do what you have to do!" I have invested a lot of me in this project, and now that the book is almost out, I know the journey will continue ahead. I think this is one of those stories that deserves to be heard, even better, it deserves to be listened to. We have set up a website for the book, (http://womanironbutterfly.com ) or you can click on my own website link: http://anamariarodriguez.com) And we have a lovely book cover! Thank you and I hope to receive your feedback! AMR
PS. Yes, she is a 'mermaid's daughter'. Check the following post to learn more about Choon Ok harmon's mother, the mermaid.