We had an exciting visitor during the month of July—celebrated author Paula Leyden, who wrote The Butterfly Heart and The Sleeping Baobab Tree, both popular book club reads at Lubuto Libraries. She came to visit the Model Library and the Mthunzi Library on July 27th, 2019. Paula’s books are set in Zambia, where Paula grew up, and are based on her real-life experiences. The Butterfly Heart is about twins Bul-Boo and Madilla, who are trying to save their friend Winifred from a forced marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. The story was inspired by a close friend of Paula’s who dropped out of school after being forced into a marriage in her early teens, and who Paula never saw again.
Large audiences at both libraries—a total of 84 teens attended the talks—had lots of questions for Paula about her books, about her experiences as a writer, and about her childhood in Zambia. Many of the kids at the libraries said they were interested in becoming authors in the future, and Paula encouraged them to read broadly, write every day, and to stay in touch with her over email. The day ended with book inscriptions, group photos, and lots of smiles—and with plans for Paula to visit our rural Mumuni Nabukuyu library, where Lubuto’s innovative Makerspace programs aim to prevent early marriages, on her next trip to Zambia!