The English Department is delighted to announce that the Mi María Project has opened a Bilingual Children’s Book exhibit in the UPRM Library.

This exhibit began as an idea by current MAEE student, Yarelis Marcial Acevedo, and English Department professor, Dr. Ricia Chansky in a class taught in conjunction with the Humanities Action Lab in 2019. Due to COVID-19, the development of this exhibit was delayed. However, it is a great source of pride for the Mi María team and the English Department to see that this idea has finally come into fruition as the library facilities are now open to the public. In addition to the exhibit at the UPRM Library, a smaller version is on display at the Biblioteca Juvenil de Mayagüez and the full exhibit and additional resources are on the Mi María project website.

The exhibit and the book, Maxy Survives the Hurricane / Maxy sobrevive el huracán (Arte Público Press), were created in response to the many issues the children of Puerto Rico faced with trauma after Hurricane María. Yarelis and Dr. Chansky were especially moved by an oral history recorded with Ivelisse Bennazar Alcover, a Head Start teacher in Ponce. Bennazar told them that “after the hurricane, when I got to meet with my students, they would tell me, ‘Teacher, I lost my house. Teacher, we have no food. Teacher, what should we do?'” From this conversation arose the idea for their children’s book.

Maxy is a happy puppy who lives with Clarita and her family in a house filled with music and laughter on the island of Puerto Rico. Then, when Hurricane María roared ashore, Maxy became terrified of storms. However, with help from his loved ones, Maxy learns to overcome his fear and appreciate the benefits of rain.