Esquivel! One of SLJ’s Top Ten Latinx Books

Not sure how I missed it, but just learned that Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist was named one of School Library Journal’s Top Ten Latinx Books for children! The list includes amazing titles by the likes of Meg Medina, Yuyi Morales, Javaka Steptoe, and Francisco Stork—wow!!

From SLJ:

[Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist] features musician, composer, and bandleader Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002), who removed the paper roll in his family’s player piano when he was a child so that he could make his own music. At 14, he worked as a paid pianist for radio shows, and at 17, he was an orchestra leader in Mexico City. Later, he created music from his New York City studio, experimenting with tempos, dynamics, and chords. Tonatiuh’s distinctive drawings, with collage textures and photographic elements, aptly capture Esquivel’s jazzy style, as do an appended author’s note, resource listing, and photograph.

So honored and grateful!

Esquivel! Wins Esteemed Belpré Honor Award

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Exciting news! Woke up this morning to learn that Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist was named a Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book, thanks to Duncan Tonatiuh’s incredible artwork. Part of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards—which also include the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, and Printz awards—the Belpré award is presented to Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose work "best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth."


From the Belpré webpage: "Duncan Tonatiuh creates a sense of sound and movement through energetic, textured collage illustrations that celebrate the life of innovative Mexican musician and composer Juan García Esquivel. Incorporating funky fonts and far-out fashions, Tonatiuh’s unique artistic style harkens back to indigenous codex art and lends cultural authenticity to this pulsating picture-book biography.”

Heartiest congratulations and thank yous to the extraordinarily talented Duncan—who also won a second Belpré Honor for his own The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes (Abrams)—and our risk-taking publisher, Charlesbridge! And heartfelt thanks also to the Belpré committee and the American Library Association, which named Esquivel! an ALA Notable Children’s Book, for this amazing honor! Muchas gracias!

(Photo above by Ed Spicer, who was at the ALA Youth Media Awards in Atlanta, and whose Facebook post was how I first found out the exciting news!)

© Susan Wood 2022