Let me tell you about this picture. This was in Nicole Martinez’s class at Cesar Chavez Elementary in Sacramento (2015) and it was taken shortly after the release of “I am Sausal Creek/ Yo Soy el Arroyo Sausal” written by author, healer, and former educator Melissa Reyes ( translated by Cinthya Munoz, pub by Nomadic Press). Melissa was and is awesome with kids. She wrote a story that told ecological and local history through the voice of a creek because it didn’t exist. And she did it so it could be read in English or Spanish. Her story has captivated many children and families. Matter of fact, people still tell me that they love the story.
What does this have to do with “Art of Rob” or art books? When we (authors/illustrators) were invited to read I asked Melissa and Ms Martinez if I could share some of my artwork process with the kids and I’ve been doing that since then. The kids responded to it and after the initial ego boost of children saying wow to my drawings I thought of how important it is to see Black and Brown authors or illustrators come to your school and talk about their create paths. I thought about how important it is to encourage them to be creative by showing them our process. This book is about representation and encouragement.
Ever since then I have shared my sketchbook, picture books, and some process paintings and more often than not the kids are super juiced to see them. I always wanted a way to take some of that excitement and give it to them so they could take it home. If you’ve supported this campaign you are fulfilling that dream for me and helping to encourage new artists; I hope. Fingers crossed.
Whether you get Art of Rob or not, please invite BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) creatives to speak to kids in schools and libraries. That way children of color can see a reflection of themselves and other kids can see just how many types of people make stories. Also, please encourage children of all kinds, but especially children of color to explore the arts. I started doing children’s books to make stories that reflected the world I see, my family, friends, and neighborhood. I didn’t realize just how welcoming the teachers, librarians, bookstore owners, literacy workers, and children would be. That’s it.
If you want to see an interview I did this past month with the Nerds of Color, go here. And if you haven’t shared this campaign with someone yet please do. We’re close to unlocking a new stretch goal, which means more pgs of art added to the book!