When Sofi walks through her barrio she always passes a huge mural with images from Puerto Rico: musicians, dancers, tropical flowers and – her least favorite – a vejigante, a character from carnival that wears a scary mask. One day on her way home from the bodega, she stops in front of the mural. Is one of the dancers inviting her to be his partner? “Okay, let’s dance,” Sofi giggles, and suddenly she’s in Old San Juan, surrounded by dancers and musicians playing maracas, panderetas and güiros. She begins to dance and sing with her friends, but her pleasure turns to fear when the vejigante showa up and spins her around and around! What does the vejigante want from her? How can she get away? This story about an imaginative girl and a magical mural is an engaging exploration of Puerto Rico’s cultural traditions as well as an ode to public art and the community it depicts. Featuring Maria Dominguez’s lovely rendered, colorful illustrations, this bilingual picture book introduces the topic of community art to children ages 4 to 8. After reading this book children – and some adults too – will want to make and share their own artistic creations!
About the Author:
Raquel M. Ortiz
Raquel M. Ortiz has a MA in Puerto Rican Studies from the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Salamanca (Spain). She has worked as a Museum Educator in New York City at The Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio. She has worked for Santillana as an editor and writer creating textbooks and educational material for children in Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. She has also created the Teaching Guides for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Hunter College). In 2013 Raquel directed the documentary Memories on the Wall: Education and Enrichment through Community Murals. Raquel writes and publishes scholarly work with a focus on the visual arts, culture, literature, music, and identity including El Arte de la Identidad (Editorial Universidad de Granada, 2011). She has published numerous articles in the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. She is the author of the children’s book Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical (Arte Público Press, 2015) and Planting Flags on Division Street / Plantando banderas en la calle Division (Colores Editorial, 2016).