BRAVO! Poems About Amazing Hispanics, is my second collaboration with innovative, gifted writer, poet and friend Margarita Engle. This book celebrates the accomplishments, contributions and collective history of the Hispanic community. After the recent blitz of negative tweets and taunts, I’m thrilled to showcase these poems and amazing stories of Latinos who made an impact and difference with their remarkable lives.

Spot illustrations for Louis Agassiz Fuertes take flight

Cornell University has a large collection of bird illustrations by Fuertes. He learned to paint quickly while birds flew overhead and displayed a bold style of painting that gave each bird a unique personality. Painting live birds during expeditions this brilliant artist captured the exploding energy and soaring spirit of birds in flight.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes in his New York studio. He became our nation’s most notable ornithological painter since Audubon.


Drawing of botanist Ynés Mexía, who discovered fascinating plants new to science on botanical collecting trips throughout Brazil, Mexico, Peru and the U.S.

Background painting of plants for Ynés Mexía


Spot illustration of poet and civil rights activist, Julia de Burgos crossing her river of dreams

An advocate for Puerto Rican independence she crafted lyrical poems that spoke of the social struggle of oppressed peoples and the land. A civil rights activist for women and African/Afro-Caribbean writers she received honors and recognition from renowned poets like Pablo Neruda.

Poet Julia de Burgos

The first stage of painting George Meléndez Wright, first chief of the Wildlife Division for America’s national parks.

Spot illustration for Wright. He convinced Congress to stop letting rangers kill mountain lions and other predators.

Juan De Miralles who fought with George Washington for independence from the British. His determination and courage saved American soldiers who were dying of scurvy.


Spot illustration of Aída de Acosta the world’s first woman pilot. In 1903, while in Paris she first saw dirigibles and after just three flight lessons took to the sky herself. More proof that women can do anything they put their mind and heart to.


I searched many months with pencil and brushes to see the inner spark of these Latino heroes and evoke in pictures the power of Margarita’s poems. After pursuing different directions as shown above, I toned down the naturalism fusing reality with a flat graphic approach. I felt driven to produce fresh portraits that communicated the daring and essence of their ideas and spirit.

Finished portrait of César Chávez. Giving tribute to the American labor leader and civil rights activist by showing him at home in the fields as a champion of social justice.



Endpapers illustration for Bravo!

I settled on the graphic style in an attempt to spark the interest and connect these inspirational heroes to young readers. Hoping that readers of all ages and backgrounds will tune into these brave, unique thinkers who dared to think differently and never gave up. Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics is due out on March 14, 2017 from Henry Holt and Company. Published in both English and Spanish we can’t wait to tell these stories to new generations.


!BRAVO! Poems about Amazing Hispanics written by Margarita Engle