Congratulations! The winner of MAYA PRAYS FOR RAIN is
Congratulations to Ana Ochoa for her new book, MAYA PRAYS FOR RAIN. The book launched on August 1st and Ana has agreed to do a book giveaway. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back on August 30th to discover the winner.
It’s a sunny fall day in Maya’s neighborhood, and all her neighbors are busy with outdoor activities. But Maya learns that today is Shemini Atzeret, when the Jewish community prays for rain, which puts her in a quandary. Will her neighbor’s plans be ruined?
It was actually some very difficult years, a really sad and tough time, I got very few assignments, and I worked mostly educational, which gave me great practice, of course. (I have never ever thought of jobs as being better or lesser…they are all important. And I put my heart on every one!)
Then, Chris wrote me, detailing and explaining what she felt was missing from my work, and why she thought I was not getting any jobs. She let me know what clients expected, how they felt about my images. It was a long, heartfelt letter, she was holding my hand and being so supportive!
It was a tough time. And then, some weeks later, I was asked to do Maya. It was like a miracle, really, for me. It came on Dia de Reyes! A real gift! And the sample they liked was this little, small drawing of a girl waiting for the rain. Nothing elaborate, just a little girl…and that is why Maya is wearing a yellow coat in the cover, so I don’t forget. It was that little sample who got me this fantastic project.
I loved feeling how confident the KarBen ladies were. Working with them was a breeze! I loved how there was a new, different character on every page: I first worked on Maya, and she has red, curly hair in honor of someone I love who lost it to an illness. The Papadakis kids? I named each one (Lilly, Lucy and Jack) and decided one would be Latin, another Caucasian and another of mixed race. Mrs. Cisneros? She is a friend and her name is Eva. She has a clothesline in her back yard and sometimes also uses the bushes to dry her wash. A neighbor once offered to give her a clothes dryer, and she promptly refused: nothing smells better than sun dried clothes!
For the others, their name gave me ideas. One of my favorites is Mr. Pattel. The lizard is someone accompanying Maya on her journey. It makes some friends too, anyone noticed?
The ladies at KarBen loved my characters from the start, and their revisions and corrections were right on, even ones I had already spotted! For me, the diversity in this book is the best part, the different races, the Papadakis dads. I loved how Maya pushed me, the bird’s eye view of the neighborhood was a first for me, and it was a breeze too!
KarBen was positive and encouraging all the time, they even called my work “fantastic”!
Maya was a gift to me. In some ways, she brought me back to life and she came to remind me that this IS what life is, ups and downs. Being an illustrator/artist is a joy, but it is also about real, hard work.
Maya was a journey. And I am getting ready for the next one! It will be so different, but just as exciting!
This is not an easy trade. But, as Chris said “You have your talent, and you have me and Christy.”
I am so blessed!
My work has been exhibited in Japan, Taiwan, New Delhi, Bratislava, Brazil, Colombia, Bologna and Mexico. And I have worked for major publishing houses in Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
I have been a professional illustrator for almost 20 years, doing picture books, educational books, cards, calendars, etc. I have also taken creative writing courses, because I wish more than anything to write and illustrate my own books. From those courses I have a big collection of stories and book ideas, some of which I have started to develop.
I work traditionally as well as digitally.
In 2010, my first book as an author was published: “The Chocolate Boy”. It came out just before the big earthquake in Haiti, and coincidentally, the main character is a little Haitian boy who goes to live in a foreign country and is subject to discrimination and ignorance. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published my book, I am very proud of it!
Also, as part of my creative process, I also design and make silver and enamel jewelry.