Broken Butterfly Wings / Alas de mariposa rotas
Bilingual picture book celebrates the importance of imagination while introducing kids to the Puerto Rican rainforest!
by Raquel M. Ortiz
Illustrations by Carrie Salazar
Publication Date: October 31, 2021
Imprint: Piñata Books
Gabriela is super excited when her gift from Titi Sylvia finally arrives. She loves the colorful, glittery butterfly wings! She stands in the middle of her room and flaps and flaps her new wings, but nothing happens. She jumps off her bed, vigorously moving the wings up and down, but again, nada. She hops down the hallway and the stairs, but she still can’t fly!
Disappointed, Gabriela goes to the garage, digs into her father’s toolbox and sets about trying to fix the broken butterfly wings. Maybe she can add a battery or an engine. Her father has a better idea, though, and encourages her to close her eyes and think about where she would like to fly. Soon she is envisioning El Yunque, a rainforest on the island of Puerto Rico that is full of tall green trees, humming waterfalls and chattering birds. She can even hear the coquí, a tiny tree frog that lives only on the island, singing its special song: coquí-coquí.
Demonstrating the joy found in using one’s imagination, this bilingual picture book depicts a young girl drawing on her senses—smell, hearing, sight—to return to a beloved place. Kids will appreciate the beauty of the rainforest’s birds, frogs and other natural wonders while admiring a strong girl willing to create solutions to problems.
Praise for the work of Raquel M. Ortiz:
“Afro-Puerto Rican dance traditions are celebrated through one girl’s breakthrough moment with bomba. A solid reminder of music’s power and a good primer on Puerto Rican dance culture.”—Kirkus Reviews on When Julia Danced Bomba / Cuando Julia bailaba bomba
“The theme of dance as a liberating force for self-expression is enhanced by cultural context in this picture book. Ortiz’s straightforward text taps into several relatable and authentic themes, including the pressure children can feel to embody all aspects of their cultural backgrounds, and dispelling the notion that all Latinxs are naturally rhythmically gifted. A wonderful pairing for titles depicting the intersectionality of Latinx heritage, like Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl and Eric Velasquez’s Looking for Bongo.”—Booklist on When Julia Danced Bomba / Cuando Julia bailaba bomba
“Filled with color, imagination, and music, this bilingual picture book is a captivating journey through Caribbean culture and pays tribute to some of its most influential artists. Bright and dazzling illustrations mimic the rhythms of both the story and its settings. Readers are introduced to metal art and other concepts with a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book. VERDICT This companion to Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural is an homage to Caribbean culture and a great addition to any children’s collection.”—School Library Journal on Sofi Paints Her Dreams / Sofi pinta sus sueños
“Vibrant art and vivid settings bolster the magical realism. The tale gains authenticity through racial diversity and a superb Spanish translation in this celebration of the wonderful cultural contributions of Caribbean residents.”—Booklist on Sofi Paints Her Dreams / Sofi pinta sus sueños
RAQUEL M. ORTIZ was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, of Puerto Rican parents. She is the author of the bilingual picture books: When Julia Danced Bomba / Cuando Julia bailaba bomba (Piñata Books, 2019), Sofi Paints Her Dreams / Sofi pinta sus sueños (Piñata Books, 2019) and Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical (Arte Público Press, 2015). She has worked at the Brooklyn Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Currently, she creates educational material for the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City.
CARRIE SALAZAR, the daughter of immigrants, illustrated Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires (West Margin Press, 2020). She grew up in a small community in southeastern Louisiana, and now lives in California with her family and many pets.