The Heart of It Collection consists of 3 books and includes stories, poems, and art from 58 new & emerging diverse voices in children’s books. Over two thirds are POC, Indigenous and/or Queer.
Each book revisions the anthology format by nesting the ArtistAuthor’s spreads within a larger narrative of story and art from award-winning children’s book author and artist, Maya Gonzalez. They sail the dark sea, reflect the bright moon and finally rise from the deepest part of the heart. All connected, but each book can also stand alone.
Whaleheart begins the journey by calling in the heart, and not just any heart, but the largest heart on the planet! Why the largest? So we can feel our connection with everyone and understand in a personal way that all stories are important, because all stories are connected. In the back it touches on the specific process of creating a children’s book.
By the Light of the Rabbit Moon is next and looks at listening and how our lives and our own stories are made richer by each other’s stories. This book explores the use of symbol, subtext, nonverbal vocabulary and our connection to each other. In the back it touches on how stories can grow.
Unfurling: Voice is a Revolution ends the trilogy and brings us back to self and the origin of voice. Raw, experimental, playful and symbolic, it dances with silence and expression in yet another way to use and push the limits of children’s books as a radical tool of transformation.
This collection inspired the Write Now! Make Books free series for kids which includes over 2 hours of video, downloads, templates and more to teach kids the process of creating picture books.
Featured ArtistAuthors: (in alphabetical order by last name)
Ovid Amorson, Ale Barahona, Crystal Azul Barr, Michelle Biyal, Victoria Bruno, Debbie Burran, Indelisa Carrillo, Jim Cartwright, Cecille Cervancia, Samantha Matalone Cook, Adrianne Beth Galvez, Nicole Davis, Summer Edward, Silvia Garcia, Lauraine Gibbons, Erika González, Priya Gopal, Carol Green, Virginia Grise, TeMika Grooms, Jill Guerra, Kelly Jimenez, Teresa Lakier, Robert Liu-Trujillo, Rosalind Lord, Nguyen Louie, Danielle Lucas, Janine Macbeth, Ann Magee, Katherine Mahler, Melina Mangal, Laurin Mayeno, Sanata Nacro, Innosanto Nagara, Judith Nasse, Shanimarie Ogilvie, Gayle E. Pitman, Elana Ponet, Bernice Avella Popp, Melissa Reyes, Nashanta C. Robinson, Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez, Nataša Savelli, Karen Simpson, Marianna Singwi-Ferrono, Roxana A. Soto, Carole Stedronsky, Yoly Petra Stroeve, Karen Su, Kenji Tanner, Jorge Tevalan, Chantra Tham, Sonal Vyas, Cynthia A. Weber, alida cardós whaley, Robyn Wolfe, Laura Yohualtlahuiz, Laurie L. Young – view more about ALL of these amazing ArtistAuthors on the “Featured ArtistAuthors Bios” tab above.↑
About Maya Christina Gonzalez: Maya is an acclaimed fine artist, educator, and the illustrator of more than twenty award-winning picture books, several of which she also wrote. Her book My Colors, My World won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award Honor from the American Library Association. Her picture book, Call Me Tree was listed in Kirkus’ Best Picture Books of 2014 that Celebrate Diversity. She is passionate about inspiring others to create books, because she believes that creating children’s books has the potential to be one of the most radical things you can do! Wanting to do more than just pass on her knowledge, Maya decided to use her online children’s book course as a springboard to begin mentoring and publishing ArtistAuthors right away through the anthologies. (more about Maya on her website: mayagonzalez.com)
About The Heart of It Collection:
The Heart of It Collection is a 3 book anthology series in direct and immediate response to a lack of equitable and relevant representation of the people in traditional children’s books.
After taking Maya’s course, The Heart of It: Creating Children’s Books that Matter, aspiring and emerging ArtistAuthors are invited to put the teaching into real life practice through the process of creating one full spread for The Heart of It Anthology for that year. Over the course of 4-5 months students are guided through developing their story and art to be published. Step-by-step submission packet and videos, scheduled reviews by Maya as well as encouragement to review course materials support students to more deeply integrate the process of creating art and story for children’s books. The whole experience offers the opportunity to learn the balance between creative expression, honing one’s craft, and the ability to follow through and how important that balance is to making truly powerful books for our children.
Emerging and established authors and artists who shared their wisdom through the course’s Community Spotlights are also invited to submit work.
The final book is then used as a tool to support ArtistAuthors in getting their work out into the world and transform who creates children’s books and how.
Sales of the book also support future ArtistAuthors as proceeds are put towards offering more scholarships for The Heart of It course providing a cyclical environment of mutual support.
The Heart of It Collection is intended to:
- create a space for ‘first voice’ expression
- provide real life experience in a supportive environment to create one full spread for a published children’s book
- support participating ArtistAuthors in getting their work out into the world, and into the hands of children
- model a viable alternative to traditional publishing routes
- encourage the development of VOICE for those traditionally silenced in our society
- reclaim and free the power of personal and communal storytelling
- explore that all stories are important because all stories are connected and so connect us
- share that coming into our own creative power strengthens us and by extension strengthens our community when shared
- highlight that EVERYONE is a storyteller and EVERYONE is an artist
So let this book remind you to
begin listening to your own story and feel the power of your own voice
and your innate ability to create your own image!
THE REVOLUTION IS ALWAYS NOW!
Pass it on!
For Kids! Want to get started on your own book?
Visit Write Now! Make Books to download your field guide and get started sharing your story and art!