As a boy I used to read books about distant locations and dream. I count my lucky stars that at an early age my mother encouraged my imagination. Together we ground egg yolks, plants, beets, onions, and oxidized stones with the mortar she used to grind chiles and made pigment. She encouraged me to follow my dream. To paint my entire room using natural colors from the Earth and recreate the tomb of King Tut. All this was accomplished during summer vacation. On a recent visit to my childhood home it was thrilling to find that the vibrant colors are still there.
Now I’m looking forward to the release of our new book celebrating a young dreamer. Targeting kids aged 3-8 our book was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is set for release this March. Written by Pura Belpré winner and Newberry honoree Margarita Engle this book is inspired by the true story of brave, determined, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. A courageous Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers. In 1930’s Cuba, her passion for drumming opened doors for girls to attain their dreams. These illustrations were created using acrylic paint that I buy in large jars from Mexico on hand-sanded wooden boards.
With this post I wanted to reveal four of the illustrations I crafted to tell Millo’s inspirational story. Margarita and I were thrilled that this new book recently received a Kirkus starred review.