Lenna’s Gift

Lenna’s Gift is here!

El Regalo de Lenna

The Mariposas community in collaboration with For Kids by Kids is publishing a book! The powerful allegorical story of Lenna and River will be available in late July and will encourage readers to reflect on the role of power and privilege in crosscultural, crossracial, and/or crossgender relationships and collaborations, and act to cultivate fair spaces that elevate everyone’s experiences, wisdom and skills equitably.

Early in 2019, the Mariposas team met with For Kids By Kids (FKBK), a collaborative of teaching artists who work with nonprofits to create innovative picture books. At the center of FKBK’s work is youth engagement that always includes a writing and illustration residency. The FKBK’s highly interactive approach aligned well with the Mariposas style of active inquiry.

The Process

From the start, this project was designed to tackle subjects society has intentionally avoided to discuss, especially with young children. The book addresses vital issues experienced by the Mariposas youth, parents and staff when collaborating with people of power and privilege, and with people of different races or ethnicities. These challenges and microaggressions can also apply to other traditionally marginalized groups as they navigate power dynamics, racist policies and spaces, and other forms of discrimination and injustice across systems or collaborations.  The often oppressive nature of some crossgroup collaborations and spaces are rarely discussed with young children. The Mariposas community believes that Lenna’s Gift will generate opportunities for adults to introduce critical discussions with children of all backgrounds about power, racism and equity. El Regalo de Lenna also sends a strong message about the importance of centering the narratives of historically marginalized peoples, and of elevating the legacy of wisdom, joy and resistance in order to begin decolonizing our spaces, relationships and collaborations.