Zoya Wilson needs some help to complete her latest project. The 66-year-old Lodi resident, teacher, poet and theater director has translated 10 Russian fairy tales into English and plans to get them published.
The goal of the project is to help Russian children adopted into American families learn about their native culture.
“Kids who were adopted from Russia — I wanted to make them familiar with Russian culture,” she said.
She has the stories translated and adapted for an American audience, but her idea is to recruit local children adopted from Russia to help illustrate them.
“Those pictures would be like a bridge between countries, between cultures,” she said.
The Russian government has prohibited any further adoptions of Russian children to American parents, under a law that took effect this year. Wilson said this policy doesn’t help children.
Born in Ukraine, Wilson grew up in Russia and came to America in the early 1990s.
She teaches adult education classes at the Medina County Career Center on Russian history, literature and culture.
In past years, Wilson has put on interactive productions of “The Nutcracker” for children at the career center. She also has done Russian dinner theater at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Brunswick.
The book would be written in two languages — with the English version on one side of a page and the Russian version on the other. She said the book also could help English-speaking students of Russia, as well as Russian students studying English.
The stories are geared toward different age groups. In one tale, a young girl named Masha tricks a bear holding her captive into carrying her back to her grandparents’ house inside a basket of Russian pastries. In another, a domesticated cat becomes mayor of the forest.
Parents interested in helping with the illustration project can call Wilson at (330) 948-4297 or (330) 465-9606.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.