Last Fall in 2023 I got the distinct pleasure of reading my latest book “Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco” to a big group of students at the South Berkeley Public Library branch. Here are some photos from that day.
Giving a reading to children is kind of like a performance. You know what story you’re going to read, and since Fresh Juice is still new I have read it out loud to kids only about 15-20 times. For some of my other books I’ve read them 100’s of times; each time trying to emphasize a different part depending on the group I’m reading to. Sometimes I read in English, sometimes Spanish. In this photo I’m trying to gt the kids to talk back to me rather than just listen. Folks in the church used to say “call and response”.
Something I love to do when I visit with kids beyond reading them the actual story is to share some of the behind the scenes, the outtakes, and the practice that goes into making these books that take minutes to read and sometimes years to make. I love sharing drawings and paintings from the process, and I LOVE sharing my sketchbook with them. Younger kids and even some of the older ones love seeing drawings, paintings, sketches, etc because whether its a song, a dance, a video game, or a picture book its fun to see how artists do the thing.
I’ve kept a sketchbook since I was a child. I love sharing them so much that I self published a book full of my drawings, paintings, sketches, etc that have helped me develop stories, share knowledge, or just develop as an artist. You can cop that here.
BIG shout out to Juan Rigo (Adult w/ the hat on the left) who is a librarian at Berkley Public Library who I’ve known since Berkeley high school! He told me he was gonna bring me to the library to read to the babies and sho nuff did. Thx Juan! And BIG shout out to Maestra Arroyo sitting next to Juan who not only brought her class but a fellow teacher’s class to see me read. All photos taken by Jessica and Juan!
SEE? When you see librarians and teachers give them props, words of affirmation, and support when they are in labor struggles for better pay. If it weren’t for these two, my story would not have reached these kids that day. I take that honor seriously and am forever grateful for all of you doing your best to cheer on and game up the next generation with knowlege and love.
If you havent already, please review “Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco” wherever you review books. Request it at your local library or bookstore no matter where you live.