Archive for the ‘Solar Cookies’ Category

Uninter Cuernavaca

May 17, 2010

Rivera mural in the Cortez Palace, Cuernavaca

I was invited by Abraham Popoca to show my book at the Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca. Abraham along with a group of students there runs a research center that looks into policy relating to children’s rights. They were interested in my book because of its bi-national nature.

I did a presentation of the book and showed them also another picture book I wrote and illustrated called Solar Cookies. The college students there enjoyed the books and had excellent and challenging questions. One of the students asked me if I worried that the Mexican child in the book was a stereotype, or that a Mexican child who saw the book would be ashamed of how Mexican children are represented in it.

Dear Primo’s main character are Carlitos and Charlie. Carlitos is a rural boy from Mexico, Charlie is his cousin and lives in a city in the US. Carlitos wears sandals. Charlie wears hightop sneakers and a fitted baseball hat.

Carlitos

I could understand why the Uninter student would ask that question. I have a multilayered response to it. To begin, the book is addressed to children between 4-8. And though I always attempt to create something sophisticated, for this project it was very important to focus on the contrasts between Carlitos and Charlie -much like the country mouse and city mouse story- and keep them clear and simple.

I am aware that Mexico is a very urbanized country. The Mexico City metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the American continent. And I am aware that Mexico is in many ways a very Americanized country, and that the US also is a very Mexican country. But again, for the sake of clarity and simplicity I had to make the contrasts in food, environment, etc very clear, almost extreme. Yet, the point of the book is that regardless of their nationalities Carlitos and Charlie are at heart more alike than different.

There is an important reason why I decided to make Carlitos a rural boy and Charlie an urban one. Without being overt, I am acknowledging the migration of Mexican workers to the US. A large portion of these workers come from rural backgrounds and often migrate to cities in the US. They work as deliveryman, nannies, construction workers and in other service industries. That is the experience of people I know both in San Miguel Allende, where I grew up, and in New York, where I went to school.

Further, tradition and progress don’t have to be mutually exclusive. One can be can modern and up to date and at the same time have a strong sense of identity. One can be technologically savvy and at the same time be proud of ones heritage and traditions.

After the presentation I got to hang out with some Uninter students. It was a lot of fun. The students at the research center are a very close and supportive group.

***

I’m currently working on a new picture book. It is inspired by the life and art of Diego Rivera. It wil be out next spring. Although I didn’t see the Rivera mural in Cuernavaca on my visit to the Uninter, I did see it on a previous visit to the city. It’s excellent and entrance is free on Sundays, I believe.

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Solar Cookies

July 16, 2009

I recently finished illustrating a children’s book I wrote called Solar Cookies.

page 8-9

page 8-9

It is about a kid that builds a solar oven

page 14-15

page 14-15

page 22-23

page 22-23

and starts his own solar cookie business to help his Mom.

page 26-27

page 26-27

I sent the book to a children’s book contest. Hopefully it’ll do well. I’m looking for a publisher for it if anyone has any leads.

And after talking for months and months about it I finally made my first solar oven. Thank you Rocio for all the cardboard and help (more like for letting me help you :p)

Solar Oven

Solar Oven

It takes about an hour to make a batch of cookies. I plan on starting a solar cookie business of my own. Unfortunately it is the rainy season in Mexico, so the weather often does not help. I’m going to keep experimenting though and figuring out what are the best recipes. I want to make some solar pizza too.

There is a ton of info about building solar ovens on the net. I found this design to suit my needs the best.