Liberation. Transformation. Growth. These are all themes discussed in “El regalo de Lenna," or “Lenna’s Gift," a bilingual children’s picture book created by a Latinx student group called Mariposas, as well as the organization For Kids By Kids (FKBK), a group of teaching artists that edit and create picture books.
Mariposas, which means butterflies, is an organization that works to empower Latinx youth and their families in the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. It was founded in 2013 by Barbie Garayúa Tudryn, a counselor at the Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe Elementary School.
FKBK contacted the Mariposas program in spring 2019 and proposed that the two groups work together to create a book. Garayúa Tudryn said the opportunity to work with a writer and illustrator would be invaluable to her students.
“The chance for the Mariposas community to share a piece of ourselves far and wide was one we couldn't refuse,” Garayúa Tudryn said. “In times when there are a lot of harmful narratives being disseminated about Latinxs in this country, we were given an opportunity to work on a counter-narrative, and we just couldn't turn it down.”
FKBK writer Susie Wilde and artist Peg Gignoux initially met with Mariposas students and their families to discuss what themes they wanted to include in the book. They chose the themes of liberation and transformation, and Garayúa Tudryn said they reflected the personal experiences of the Mariposas community.