Monday, April 18, 2016

Viva Cuba/Focus on

Cuba and the United States are only 90 miles away but for over 50 years have been apart. Teachers and students are discussing our changing relationship in their classrooms. Thanks to School Library Journal for posting a list of useful books and for including Drum Dream Girl written by Cuban born Margarita Engle on that list. Check it out at School Library Journal.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

¿Cachai? Chile

¿Cachai? is a popular expression that means do you catch or do your know? I just returned from an amazing trip to Chile, invited by Nido de Aguilas to speak to kids about making books. Wanted to share some memories and thank the many new friends I made along the way.

Connecting with new librarian friends at Nido de Aguilas in Chile
Visiting Villalobos studio with Antonia López and Nevenka Pavic in Valparaiso, Chile

Peeling Textures

Museo Violeta Parra


Liguria, one of the oldest and coolest restaurants in downtown Santiago

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Read to Achieve

Kids discover Maybe Something Beautiful at Otis Elementary School

Boston Celtic's player Marcus Smart reading with kids
Thanks to Boston Celtics players for inspiring the next generation as part of Read to Achieve. Check out this short video of the event and appreciate Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for donating books to this worthwhile program.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A new book MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL and a new mural

Vertical spread from Maybe Something Beautiful

On Tuesday April 12, Maybe Something Beautiful hits the shelves. It combines the talents of F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and tells the story of Mira who together with a muralist and the community brings color to her gray city. You can follow the action on facebook as murals inspired this book which has inspired an upcoming mural. Looking forward to creating a new mural with children and families in Barrio Logan, San Diego on April 30, 2016. Details on the way.

Beginnings and Endings

On Sunday I leave for Santiago, Chile and really look forward to discovering a new part of the planet and connecting with children there about books and murals. Over dinner, our son, Santiago asked what I am most looking forward to. I told him the beginning as there is much to explore and the ending as I get to tell him all about my adventure.

As a children's book illustrator I spend a great deal of time thinking about beginnings and endings. 
Endpapers for MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL due out on April 12, 2016

Maybe Something Beautiful tells the story of a young girl and muralist who transform a gray neighborhood bringing their community together using art. The story is based on my own work creating the Urban Art Trail in the East Village of San Diego. I wanted to begin with actual buildings in the neighborhood and developed a technique that blended original photographs of local facades that morph into colorful endpapers. To finish the story the main character Mira’s painted bird is flying free up in the sky.

Endpapers for BOOK FIESTA! 2010

Book Fiesta! celebrates Children’s Day/Book Day and so the day begins and ends with a good book.

Endpapers are the start and finish line of a book. Vintage endpapers display an array of fascinating patterns that include marbled paper, geometric shapes and whimsical patterns. When I get a book deal I plead with the publisher to give me the chance to do a bit of extra storytelling to young readers as they open and close a book. If I can't convince them on the first round I will create sketches and even full paintings to plead my case. Many of my favorite endpaper designs never made it to print but I keep them in a flat file and open that drawer from time to time. The images on endpapers are much closer to personal paintings. As there is no text you feel great freedom to express your own visual take on a story.
You can find plenty of unique and beautiful endpapers online at places like Pinterest from innovative illustrators.

Patterns, textures, soaring imagery…what a way to start and end the day.