These words of encouragement are part of a story created by students at Park View High School during a One to the World publishing project conducted under the leadership of award-winning author and illustrator John Parra. Parra is the author of eight Latino-themed children’s books, including “Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors, Gracias/Thanks” and “Waiting for the Biblioburro.” Parra’s participation was funded by the Loudoun County Public Library as part of their Latino Americans: 500 Years of History project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.
Parra worked with students at Park View over a two-day period to create bilingual children’s books. Parra said that he condensed his own professional process and took the students through that in order for them to gain an understanding of what goes into creating a book. He said that he often does similar workshops in schools but that the output is typically one book. He described the work of the numerous teams at Park View with each team producing its own book as being “on a grander scale.”
Parra noted that some of the stories were funny while others were serious and emotional. “Creativity is in spades here today,” he remarked.
The project is a collaboration of the school’s library, art, Spanish and English departments. The completed books will be delivered to the Salvadoran embassy to be sent to children in El Salvador.
“The kids are doing amazing work. It was really moving when they shared their stories,” Parra said.