Puerto Rican children’s book author educates about ancient Taíno culture

Gurnee resident seeks help through Kickstarter to launch second book in series

GURNEE – As a little girl, Vicky Weber loved to read but rarely found picture books with Puerto Rican or Taíno characters like herself.

While the possibilities were endless for books about princesses, animals and made-up creatures, she owned only two storybooks with roots like her own.

“That’s not the world I want for my daughter,” she said in a news release.

In March 2020, Weber, a Gurnee resident, released a book called “Taíno Tales: the Secret of the Hummingbird,” which is a retelling of the legend of how the hummingbird came to be.

“It’s not a musical story like my other publications but it provided an incredible opportunity for children to learn about the ancient people through their indigenous folklore,” Weber said. “A lot of people don’t know that maracas are actually a Taíno instrument, often attributing their invention to other Latin American countries or cultures.

“Creating that first children’s book opened the door for conversations and curiosities about history and culture in ways I never imagined.”

She wrote the second book in the series, “Taíno Tales: the Legend of Coquí” not only to educate about the Taíno culture but bring diverse characters to life.

However, she needs help to make this book a reality.

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to pledge their support in exchange for rewards. In this case, it’s a way to preorder the book and support its production.

But there is a catch. The campaign is all-or-nothing. If the goal isn’t met, the project isn’t funded and the book won’t be able to be produced and published at this time.

“My goal with the Taíno Tales series is not only to educate about the Taíno culture but also to inspire parents, teachers and children to seek out diverse stories and characters so I thank you in advance for your support to get this book on children’s bookshelves,” Weber said.

The Kickstarter campaign ends Aug. 15.

To support the project, go to kickstarter.com.