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Leyla Torres

Leyla Torres
I have always loved to paint and to read. When I was a young child growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, my parents ran an elementary school that exposed me to all kinds of wonderful books. One day my mother gave me a small easel and a box of paints. My first painting was a group of six tall, thin, dark green trees. I didn't have many friends, and my two brothers and one sister were much younger than I, so I spent a lot of time alone either reading, painting, or making rag dolls. When I went to college, I decided to study fine arts, which at that time was not a popular choice among students. For a while, I worried I would be the only one in the class! I also thought that the teachers would expect to see accomplished drawings on the first day. I was quite nervous because I didn't think my drawings were very good. To my great surprise and relief, twenty-nine other students were in the art program that year, and the teacher started us all drawing page after page of circles and squares. I made some friends, and I discovered that it takes a lot of practice and patience to draw, or to do anything well at all.
After receiving my degree in Fine Arts and Education, I rented a small attic studio and found a job teaching art in a public school in Bogotá. I also worked closely with a group of puppeteers, designing and creating puppets and sets, and collaborated on the writing of scripts as well. I think it was at that time in my life that the idea of doing m

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The Subway Sparrow

Leyla Torres; Illustrated by the author

An English-speaking girl, a Spanish-speaking man, and a Polish-speaking woman might not be able to converse, but when a sparrow trapped in their subway car needs help, their common concern bridges...

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