During the first week of March, LJCDS had the pleasure of welcoming the 2017 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award recipient, Raúl Gonzalez, aka Raúl The Third, illustrator of the Lowriders in Space series.
Raúl’s visit, a collaborative effort between the library department, VAPA, and the Upper and Middle Schools, centered around a presentation to the Middle School, where Raúl talked about his career and his story as a young artist growing up between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This presentation was bookended with smaller salon-style visits to individual art classes, both in Middle and Upper School, showing the students finished and in-process artwork from his new graphic novel coming out in September 2018 and his first children’s book. He also gave an impromptu comic art-drawing demonstration to the Upper Schoolers focusing on the creative process and technique.
Raúl’s visit culminated with an unprecedented collaboration between LJCDS and the La Jolla Athenaeum Art Center in Barrio Logan, where we held a bustling public community discussion and book signing (thanks to Mysterious Galaxy bookstore). The event was emceed by San Diego State University English and Chicana/o Studies professor William Nericcio, who introduced Raúl to a full house of LJCDS faculty and staff, students and many new friends of all ages in the San Diego and Barrio Logan community.
Elementary students from the neighborhood brought their own copies of Raúl’s award-winning book, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, to be signed, including a young girl who had given a presentation to her class that week on what the book meant to her. It was an amazing opportunity to inspire greatness not only in our students, but also in our larger community, and we look forward to more collaborative events in the future.