Interview: meet Lufi and Friends

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Marina Carpintero from Lufi and Friends telling me about their new Bilingual board books and Kickstarter campaign.  I was so excited to learn about her company and the beautiful books they have created.  Here's an interview with the folks from Lufi and Friends. 
At themoment I am writing this, their campaign goal is $15,000;
they have $9,136 in pledges from 99 backers;
and need $5864 in the next 7 days to reach their goal.

Read, check out their campaign and if you fall in love with the books like I did, pre-order!  Trust me it will be worth the wait.

1- Tell us about Lufi and Friends and it's mission.  

Lufi and Friends is a company that aims to show children the magic of our multicultural world.  We hope to do our small part to contribute to communities that are more empathetic, open-minded and that embrace diversity. One of the ways that we hope to do that is by building enthusiasm among young kids for learning a second, third or even fourth language and giving them a tool with which they can explore other countries and cultures.  We believe that one of the best things about learning another language is that it doubles (maybe even triples or quadruples) the number of people that you can connect with and the cultures you can learn about!
We named the company for our little ones, Lucas (Lu) and Fiona (Fi).  They inspire us to find fun ways to help them learn, and they are also our dedicated product testers.  A happy coincidence is that the word lufi means balloon in Hungarian, which feels like a good fit for products designed for kids to enjoy learning new languages.  
Our names are Adrian (Carpintero) and Marina (Carpintero) and Linling (Tao).  Adrian and I, and our friend Linling (who is a good friend from college) have had the good fortune to experience living abroad and living in the United States.  And we've seen first hand the power of connecting with people through different languages.  As a fun fact, among the three of us, we speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and a bit of French and Portuguese and hope to continue to learn.
Lufi and Friends Book Cover
2- Why did you choose to create Bilingual board books?

Our son, Lucas, loves music and dancing.  Singing Spanish songs to him has been one of the best ways to help him pick up Spanish words.  But, as new parents, we didn't know a lot of songs for kids, let alone Spanish songs for kids.  As a result, we were constantly pulling our phones out to play songs on YouTube.  We wanted to be able to sing and dance with Lucas without always having our phones out, and that's one of the reasons we created these interactive books.  They're just like regular board books so they help kids begin to love reading and learn to use their fingers.  But, they also play songs! We love that they combine two really great tools for language development - reading and music!  
We also know many parents (ourselves included) want to teach their kids languages in which they're not native speakers themselves.  Music is a great tool because it helps both kids and parents develop pronunciation.  And we included lyrics and a glossary in each book to help parents and kids learn together.

3- What books are you reading now?

Lucas loves dogs (our dog is named Rocky) so he is super into Perro Grande, Perro Pequeño as well as the Spot books (Spot va a la escuela and ¿Dónde está Spot?
Fiona is only eight weeks old so we're still making her reading picks for her :)  Right now, we are reading a few pages from Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to her each day.  We alternate between the Spanish and English editions.
As for the adults behind Lufi & Friends, a few books that we're currently enjoying include:
El Secreto de Sus Ojos by Eduardo Sacheri
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." 
-Henry Ford
4- Tell us your favorite quote that inspires you.

It's hard to pick!  But one that feels quite applicable as we embark on this new adventure is "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."  It's stuck in our heads after watching Boss Baby a bazillion times :)  But, originally it is a Henry Ford quote. 
5- What have you learned through this process that has made the most impact in your lives.  What challenges have you faced?

One of the best things we've seen throughout the process is how willing fellow entrepreneurs and parents are to help one another.  Everyone has been so helpful in spreading the word and sharing suggestions for this project, and we're so grateful for the support.  
The biggest challenge that we are facing is the Kickstarter format.  More than 60% of US households have an Amazon prime membership and people are used to instant gratification (we're guilty of this too)!  So one challenge is getting people to buy a book that they'll have to wait a couple of months to receive.  
6- What do you want your customers to experience?

We want there to be dancing, singing and learning!  We want kids (and even parents) to engage with books and have fun learning a new language.  The music is catchy, the illustrations are beautiful, and the accompanying lyrics and glossary can help kids start to develop as readers. 

7- Anything else you want to share?

We'd love for parents and kids to share with us - we really value feedback and want to learn as much as we can from our consumers.   If you check out our campaign and have suggestions, comments, questions, please let us know!  We'd also love to know what songs your kids love and what language you would like to teach your little ones. 
8- How can someone support your project and get more information?

Our video shows the books in action. 
If you think your little ones might love these books, you can support the project by pre-ordering a copy of one or both of our first books, Mis primeras canciones de animales and Mis primeras canciones de cuna
If you know someone who would love them, we'd love for you to share our campaign. 
And, finally, we'd love any suggestions for how we might spread the word or what you'd like to see from the products in the future. 
Reach us on Instagram (@lufiandfriends) or via email at
¡Mil gracias!!

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