Lulu Junior Author Of The Month - Grace Tapleras and Benny Reyes

Lulu Junior Author Of The Month - Grace Tapleras and Benny Reyes

By Emma Gutierrez / April 07, 2021

Over the last year, a lot of us have taken up a few new hobbies to pass the time. Our April Authors of the Month, Grace and Benny were lucky enough to spend some time learning from their very own backyard about Mourning Doves last year! 

Then they decided to write a book about their dove watching, keep reading to find out all about it!

Last April, Gracie saw a Mourning Dove fly from the top of the refrigerator in their backyard.

Grace went to tell her Uncle Lalo. Benny climbed on a ladder to see on top of the refrigerator. What did he find? A basket of chilis AND a bird nest with two eggs in it!

The eggs were laid by the Upyaiyi (the Mourning Dove). Grace and Benny learned from their language teacher Laura that the Wukchumni term for Mourning Dove is Upyaiyi.

Gracie and Benny watched the Momma Dove come back to her eggs. Two weeks later, two little birds were born. Gracie and Benny were able to watch them grow and watch the parent doves bring the babies worms to eat.

The two little birds started to learn to fly. The Daddy bird flew from the fridge to the fan and called out to the baby birds to come to him.

Soon they were flying back and forth! From there, the birds flew to the fence and then to the ground.

And then, they finally learned to fly away from Gracie and Benny’s house. Gracie and Benny were sad to see them go… but little did they know what was coming next!

A few days later, Benny saw the Momma Dove fly away from the fridge. Gracie looked into the basket and she saw two new eggs!

Gracie and Benny watched the Momma Dove sit on the eggs again… and a little bit later, two more birds were born!

Gracie and Benny watched the birds grow up and fly away. But to their surprise, more eggs appeared. And back it forth it went from eggs being born and learning to fly, leaving the nest, and back to more eggs! What an experience!

Benny and Gracie were able to watch and learn so much of the Upyaiyi (the Mourning Doves) during 2020!

Grace’s next book may be about chickens on a farm and Benny is interested in writing more about their native culture. We can’t wait to read what else they have to share with us! Thank you to Grace and Benny for sharing their story and experience with us!

Read The Full Interview 

Where did you get your Lulu Jr. kit? Who gave it to you? 
Grace & Benny: The Family Literacy Program and our Tita Yaynicut gave the kit to us. And we turned it back into Weliyah Baga.  She sent everything in for us. Hutwima Weliyah! 

Have you always enjoyed writing? 
Grace: Yes I have. And I love to draw and color and write stories on my pictures! 
Benny:  Not really.  But I enjoyed writing this book! 

Where did you get your idea for your story? 
Grace:  It was fun discovering the Dove eggs in our backyard. And I liked watching them every day.
Benny:  We liked watching what they do, seeing them grow and finally flying away. We were excited to see more and more eggs! .

What was your favorite part about writing the book? 
Grace:  I liked to remember what happened last year when we couldn’t go to school.
Benny:  I liked drawing pictures to tell our story. 

How did it feel to see your story published into a book? 
Grace:  Happy and Excited and Surprised!
Benny: I was very Happy and Surprised! 

Who did you dedicate your book to and why? 
Benny & Grace: Our Wukchumni Language Teacher Laura. Upyaiyi, the Mourning Dove, is her Native name and she loves them.  We love her and like what she teaches us. 

What do you want people to remember about your book? 
Grace & Benny: We want them to know and remember how Baby Doves are born. 

Do you have any advice for other young authors? 
Grace:  Put your fun ideas in a book.
Benny:  Always try your best to write your book. 

What will your next book be about? 
Grace:  My next book will be about Chickens on the farm. 
Benny:  My book will be something about our Native Culture. I have lots of ideas to share.