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About Rafael López
The illustrations created by Rafael López bring diverse characters to children’s books and he works to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.
His 2018 picture book release, The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson was a New York Times #1 Children’s Picture Books Bestseller and the recipient of the 2019 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor focuses on differently abled kids working together to create a garden. The book is a #1 New York Times Children’s Picture Books Bestseller and won the American Library Association's 2020 Schneider Family Book Award.
Rafael López has received three Pura Belpré Award medals from the American Library Association for Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln (2020) Drum Dream Girl (2016) and Book Fiesta! (2010). In addition he secured three Pura Belpré honors. Upcoming illustrated books in 2022 include The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson released in January and The Little Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu due out in September.
His illustrations for Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics were honored with the 2017 Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators New York Original Art Exhibition. The book Maybe Something Beautiful based on his own work reclaiming neighborhoods with community murals secured the 2017 Tomás Rivera Book Award. Additional children's books have received three Pura Belpré honors and two Américas Book Awards for illustration.
He created a series of 54 portraits for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino. In 2012 he was asked by the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival Poster featuring best-selling authors, poets and illustrators on the National Mall in Washington D.C. He has created thirteen stamps for the United States Postal Service.
To learn more visit rafaellopez.com
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Books By Rafael López
Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
Featured in its own episode in the Netflix original show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices!
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!)
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
In this exuberant picture book about transformation through art, Mira lives in a gray urban community until a muralist arrives and, along with his paints and brushes, brings color, joy, and hope to the neighborhood.
What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine!
Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!
"Simply superb.” (Kirkus)
Tomás Rivera Book Award * ALA Notable Children's Book * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books of the Year * Huffington Post Best Picture Books of the Year * Kirkus Best of the Year * School Library Journal Top 10 LatinX of the Year
A #1 New York Times bestseller!
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award!
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.
In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges--and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we're not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.
Praise for Just Ask:
* "Addressing topics too often ignored, this picture book presents information in a direct and wonderfully child-friendly way." --Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*
"An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities." --Kirkus Reviews
"A hopeful and sunny exploration of the many things that make us unique [with] dynamic and vibrant illustrations [that] emphasize each character’s unique abilities. . . . A thoughtful and empathetic story of inclusion." --SLJ
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Sesame Street, beloved picture-book artists have each created an artwork interpreting a different line from "Sunny Day," the iconic Sesame Street theme song. The range of their pieces demonstrates that Sesame Street can truly be found anywhere. The award-winning and bestselling roster of illustrators includes Christian Robinson, Tom Lichtenheld, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Leo Espinosa, and Dan Santat, among others. The result is a stunning tribute to Sesame Street and to the generations of children who have loved the show. Anyone who opens this beautiful book will be inspired to imagine their own perfect sunny day.
For half a century, Sesame Street has helped kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder through its messages about inclusiveness, kindness, and, of course, literacy and numeracy.
En esta tierna historia que refleja la diversidad, escrita por Sonia Sotomayor, juez del Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos, e inspirada en su propia experiencia tras diagnosticarle diabetes durante su infancia, los lectores descubrirán cómo los niños de esta historia utilizan sus habilidades y fortalezas para trabajar juntos y aprender los unos de los otros. Con vibrantes y llamativas ilustraciones del galardonado artista Rafael López, este libro nos demuestra que las diferencias son maravillosas, y que si en alguna ocasión no entiendes algo, no debes quedarte callado, ¡SOLO PREGUNTA!
If you just focus on the thing that is making you sad, then the sadness is all you see. But if you look around, you will see that joy is everywhere.
In their only collaboration for children, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu use their childhood stories to show young people how to find joy even in hard times and why sharing joy with others makes it grow. The two spiritual masters tell a simple story, vibrantly brought to life by bestselling illustrator Rafael López, of how every child has joy inside them, even when it sometimes hides, and how we can find it, keep it close, and grow it by sharing it with the world.
Sprung from the friendship, humor, and deep affection between these holy men, the book is a perfectly timed and important gift from two revered spiritual leaders to children. It is a reminder that joy is abundant—no matter what challenges we face—and has the power to transform the world around us even in the darkest of times.
“A wonderful read-aloud, filled with merriment and conviviality” — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
“The artistry of this book makes it a must buy for all libraries" — School Library Journal, STARRED review
This is the story of how the farm maiden and all the farm animals worked together to make the rice pudding that they serve at the fiesta. With the familiarity of "The House That Jack Built," this story bubbles and builds just like the ingredients of the arroz con leche that everyone enjoys. Cleverly incorporating Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page, this book makes learning the language easy and fun.
Rafael Lopez covers each page with vibrant, exuberant color, celebrating tradition and community.
Back matter includes a glossary of Spanish words and a recipe for arroz con leche—perfect for everyone to make together and enjoy at story time.
· Scholastic Reading Club Selection
· Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2012 (NCSS)
· Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts 2012 (NCTE)
· NYPL’s list of “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing” in 2011
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book
In soaring words and stunning illustrations, Margarita Engle and Rafael López tell the story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln.
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.
Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?
What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists.
Featuring poems, letters, personal essays, art, and other works from such industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Jason Reynolds (All American Boys), Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair), Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Ellen Oh (cofounder of We Need Diverse Books), and artists Ekua Holmes, Rafael Lopez, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and more, this anthology empowers the nation's youth to listen, learn, and build a better tomorrow.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018!
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018!