Following Up with Duncan Tonatiuh …

h1 June 5th, 2014 by jules

Duncan: “My artwork is very much inspired by Pre-Columbian art, especially by Mixtec codices from the 14th century. That is why my art is very geometric, my characters are always in profile, and their ears look a bit like the number three.
My intention is to celebrate that ancient art and keep it alive.”

“In the new trial, the Mendez family received support from the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Japanese American Citizens League, the American Jewish Congress, and other organizations (credit chris). … Sylvia was amazed that people of different backgrounds and from different parts of the country who had never met her family were
getting involved in the case and trying to help them. …”

(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)


Last week at Kirkus, I chatted with author-illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh about his newest picture book, Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Abrams, May 2014). That Q&A is here.

Today, I follow up with some early sketches and dummy images Duncan sent, as well as a bit of final art from the book.


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Dummy Images:






Some Final Art:


“The Mendez family did not give up. … Mr. Mendez created a group called the Parents’ Association of Mexican-American Children. He tried to collect signatures for a petition to integrate school so that all children, regardless of their skin color or background, could have the same opportunities. …”
(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)

“One day, a truck driver overheard Mr. Mendez trying to convince a worker to sign his petition. ‘You know,’ said the truck driver, ‘you could file a lawsuit.’ …”
(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)



What’s Next:


Duncan: “I am currently working on a new picture book. I am writing and illustrating it. It will be a biography of José Guadalupe Posada, the artist that drew the iconic Day of the Dead calaveras. His drawings, like the one of La Catrina, a skeleton with a fancy hat, are very popular, but not many people know the name or the story of the artist behind them. The book will be published by Abrams,
and it will be out in the fall of 2015.”

* * * * * * *

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL: SYLVIA MENDEZ & HER FAMILY’S FIGHT FOR DESEGREGATION. Copyright © 2014 by Duncan Tonatiuh. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher. All other images reproduced by permission of Duncan Tonatiuh.

4 comments to “Following Up with Duncan Tonatiuh …”

  1. […] From Jorge Argueta’s Salsa: Un Poema Para Cocinar / A Cooking Poem, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh(Click to enlarge spread and read poem)   From Emma Chichester Clark’s Bears Don’t […]

  2. […] I found this out by googling the illustrator, who was interviewed by Julie Danielson on her Seven Impossible Things blog and in her Kirkus column. For those of you (like me) whose head just spun a tiny bit because the […]

  3. […] who is also an award-winning illustrator, wrote on the Seven Impossible Things blog about his gorgeous folkloric art […]

  4. […] is the name of the Aztec God of the Sun), who is also an award-winning illustrator, wrote on the Seven Impossible Things blog about his gorgeous folkloric art […]

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