Join us in celebrating La Azotea de mi Abuela book birthday! We sat down with Musa 'Judith ValdésB. to learn all about the inspiration behind the illustrations of this book.
But first, a little bit about the book:
Authored by Grace Ann Díaz, La Azotea de mi Abuela is a beaming tale of the love and bond between a granddaughter and her abuela. Abuela's rooftop is their haven, a place to make life-long memories, and is endlessly filled with new discoveries... until it's time to head back home. This picture book is an ode to finding joy in little moments and the special bond between a young girl and her grandmother.
What attracted you to this project, and what, if any, personal experiences influenced your approach to illustrating “La Azotea de Mi Abuela”?
“La Azotea de Mi Abuela” immediately resonated with me, because I spent countless hours as a child on my parents’ azotea, gazing at the stars and observing the world below. Through this “connection” I tried to infuse the illustrations with the genuine emotion and magic of those moments. In a way, I sought to convey the sense of wonder and adventure that comes from viewing the world from a unique vantage point, much like the characters in the book did.
What inspired your artistic approach to the illustration of this book?
Clearly, I drew inspiration from the vibrant culture and colors of my Mexican heritages. My goal was to project the essence of the story’s setting and characters in a visually engaging manner.
To develop the visual style for the story, I researched traditional art forms to incorporate into the illustrations, thereby honoring the cultural authenticity of the author’s work. The editor and art director also played a pivotal role in my approach by defining the color palette and the overall style of the illustrations to ensure they aligned with the story’s themes and overall message.
I envisioned my illustrations for ‘La Azotea de Mi Abuela’ as more than just images, but rather as a visual journey to complement the narrative. By enhancing the reader’s connection to the characters and their experiences on the rooftop, the spreads served as windows into a vibrant world of celebrating family, heritage, and one’s imagination.
What message or feeling do you want readers to take away from your illustrations in “La Azotea de Mi Abuela”?
I hope that my illustrations connect with readers, no matter their background, with warmth, connection, and nostalgia as well as a greater sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around us. If my contribution to Grace’s words encourage readers to take the time to explore their own family stories, I will have succeeded.
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