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Puerto Rican Children’s Book Author launches “Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural”

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By Bruni Diaz

On Wednesday, April 8th Faculty Facilitator Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz and illustrator Maria Dominguez celebrated the publication of the children’s book Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical (Arte Público Press / Piñata Books). Held on the Boricua College campus in Williamsburg there were over one hundred people, including students, staff and faculty members from the Graham, Manhattan and Bronx Boricua College campuses. Everyone enjoyed live music by JuanMa y su Sonido Costeño as they celebrated a book about Puerto Ricans in the United States and Puerto Rico set to a plena beat.

Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el m mágico mural musical written by Raquel M. Ortiz and illustrated by Maria Dominguez is the story about an imaginative girl and a magical mural. It is an engaging exploration of Puerto Rico’s rich cultural traditions as well as an ode to public art and the community it depicts. The story is inspired by the community mural El Pueblo Cantor (The Bronx, 1994) created and designed by Maria Dominguez and students from I.S. 193. After reading this book children, and adults, will want to celebrate Carnival.

This Saturday, April 11th at 9pm, Dr. Ortiz will be interviewed on De Noche en New York by Wilfred Serrano of Emisora Sol Latina (www.emisorasollatina.com orhttp://tunein.com/station/?StationId=241931)

Both Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz and Maria Dominguez will participate in the 20th Annual Lorain Hispanic Leadership Conference on April, 25th, 2015 in Lorain, Ohio. Dr. Ortiz will be a keynote speaker and Maria Dominguez will lead an art-making workshop.

The book, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical, published by Arte Público Press, is about a little girl who enters  into a mural, leaving her cold, grey urban reality behind.

When Sofi walks through her barrio to the local store, 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. She begins to dance and sing with her new friends, but her pleasure turns to fear when a  vejigante- a carnival personality in red and yellow with a three-horned mask-spins her around and around! What does he 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 to the rhythm of plena. After reading this book, children and adults will want to dance, sing and celebrate Carnival!

Virtual Fiesta Boricua 2020

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