Students at Horizon Heights Elementary were surprised when a special guest, author Liza Capprelli, came to read to them in the school’s library.
Students have been reading Caprelli’s Unicorn Jazz series, which focuses on friendship, acceptance and being kind. The author gave students an engaging presentation featuring her colorful children’s book and shared a lesson on diversity and belonging.
“(Unicorn Jazz) encourages students to be who they are,” Caprelli said. “The book is unique because it celebrates being different because we are all different, we are supposed to be, and we should celebrate that.”
Horizon Heights librarian Shannon Ortega said the message of the Unicorn Jazz series ties into the social and emotional learning that they are focusing on at the school, which includes learning to have empathy, showing respect and managing emotions.
“Unicorn Jazz is all about kindness, celebrating what’s unique and accepting others even though they are different,” Ortega said. “We practice kindness every day at Horizon Heights.”
Allie Rodriguez, a second grader at Horizon Heights, said it is important to be kind because you never know what someone else is going through.
“We should always try to be friends with everyone, even people who seem different from us,” Rodriguez said.
Ortega said she hopes the author’s visit special visit will motivate her students to read and write. During Caprelli’s talk with the students, she shared her journey about what inspired her and how she became successful in writing.
Caprelli is a native El Pasoan who grew up in the Lower Valley. She loves opportunities to read to children and give back to the community, she said.
Her passion for reading started in the first grade, so as she created her first book it was important for her to find something that would resonate with children. “Unicorn Jazz,” which earned a prestigious The Mom’s Choice Awards medal, is a result of her meaningful work.
The author still has close ties to home with her cousin, David Villalobos, who is the illustrator of her books. She also references many of her own childhood memories, like visiting the El Paso Zoo, in her stories.
Capprelli’s visit took place January 22nd.