By Ana McKenzie
A smiling blonde graces the cover of the small, thin children’s book. She’s holding what looks like a poem while a gleeful audience cheers her on.
Though the cover of Masiela Lusha’s children’s book Boopity Boop! Writes Her First Poem seems like a simple illustration, the story behind the image began years ago when Lusha and her mother left their home in Albania for a new life in the United States.
Lusha’s family moved to various countries in Europe before settling in America when she was 7 years old. With three languages already under her belt, Lusha took on a new challenge: learning English. She admits to struggling, but with the encouragement of her sixth grade teacher Mrs. Presta, Lusha wrote poetry and even stood before her class every week to recite what she had written.
Her love for poetry began before she entered her classroom.
“While some mothers sing lullabies to their children, my mother read me poetry,” she said. “And to this day, I associate my strongest and most insistent feelings with words lyrically organized on a page.”
At age 12, Lusha became the youngest author in the world to publish and illustrate a book of poetry in two languages.
Her youthful passion for poetry, combined with her advocacy for children literacy, led her to publish Boopity Boop.
“I feel it is our inherent duty as a humane society, above any intangible responsibility, to invest in our children’s potential, passion and confidence,” she said. “Boopity Boop! Rests on the belief that every child has a talent and a passion, and the story unfolds into an adventure of nurturing that confidence until a passion blooms.”
Boopy, the main character, writes rhymes. Her mother, Mama, encourages her to write from her heart.
“Search and you will feel the perfect poem my darling Boopity Boop, Boopity Baap,” she tells her as she’s tucking her in at night.
Throughout the book, Boopy tries to literally find a poem, even confusing one for a cat. Through observation and imagery, she finally understands that a poem must come, like Mama said, through words from the heart. The books smart incorporation of imagery, similes and metaphors is digestible enough for children of any age, especially those interested in story-telling.
When she’s not publishing poetry and children’s books, Lusha is an active member of Sentebale, a charitable organization benefiting the country of Lesotho. The proceeds from Boopity Boop! will benefit the organization. Lusha founded her own charity called Children of the World Foundation. Through her organization, she has donated ten acres of land for a community center focused on rehabilitating families in need. She says other chapters will develop across the United States and eventually expand into other parts of the world. Lusha is working on a second book, Boopity Boop! Goes to Hawaii.