Apr 27, 2019

Video: Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday

I illustrated this book 6 years ago. How quickly time flies. I just happen to come across it recently on youtube read aloud by Kristina Brown.

Malcolm X Jazz Festival-19th annual

This is the 19th annual Malcolm X Jazz Fest!! I'll be there selling books along side fellow author Jesse Byrd. Come through and get some new books, see people, dance, eat good food, chill out, and support the East Side Arts Alliance who throw the festival for the people of Oakland year after year. The artwork for the poster is done by Pablo Soto Campoamor and the design is done by my wife Joy Liu-Trujillo for Design Action!

Facebook EVENT link

For more history and info, please visit East Side Arts Alliance

Apr 19, 2019

Pura again

Did this painting of pioneering bilingual Puerto Rican librarian Pura Belpre several years ago for women's history month,


And it has been reused many times. This most recent one by a Latinx librarian in Oregon for a mock Pura Belpre award, which is pretty cool. If you didn't know, every year the American Library Association gives out an award to Latinx illustrators or authors of new kid lit books and it is named after Pura for all of her amazing work in storytelling and literacy. Anyways, carry on. And visit McMinnville Public library.

Apr 18, 2019

Power California - Cultural strategy

Hey folks, just got news that this new repost is out. And its designed by my wife (who did the cover illustration). It features some great resources for groups, organizers, and political activists on using artwork and cultural strategy in tandem with political or organizing work. You can download the report here. And here is a link to more information about Power California who I illustrated this poster for recently.
Here is a sample page with my artwork paired side by side with Oree Originol.

Apr 16, 2019

Sometimes it gets shelved 5- Migration

Hey yall, back with another addition of sometimes it gets shelved. These are illustrations that get shelved, never used. So, I'm sharing some here with you. The theme was migration and I recycled at least one painting I have already done pose wise. The rest were new and attempting to show some of Central American families who migrate. 

Here are some other projects that got shelved.

Apr 10, 2019

Bay Area Book Festival - Author's Pavillion

Hey, if you're around the Bay come check me out at the 5TH ANNUAL Bay Area Book Fest. I'll be hanging out in the Author's Pavillion on both days. There are some great authors, publishers, and speakers there such as Nidhi Chanani, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Laura Atkins, Oliver Chin, Zoraida Córdova, Aya De Leon, Tongo Eisen Martin, Dani Gabriel, Justina Ireland, Ajuan Mance, Cherríe Moraga, Rebecca Roanhorse, Aida Salazar, Juliana Jewels Smith, Bryant Terry, Jose Antonio Vargas. 

Speaking of which you can catch folks like Innosanto Nagara, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Bryant Terry, and Laura Atkins speaking on panels. Here's the schedule. There are also many story times for the kids and a children & family area. I'm excited, see y'all there!! Its free to come thru.

Follow the Festival: 

Apr 8, 2019

Daddy thoughts 18 - Reset button

Hey readers, thanks for continuing to read my thoughts on fatherhood. I last left off at "Brand New Daughter" and have been thinking about how different things are this time around.

Starting over: 
As a new dad again I feel in some ways like I'm starting over. I have a lot of knowledge and experience but also so much to learn still and the feels rather humbling. I did not intend to have such a big break in between children but life had other plans. After my son's mother and I split I realized I needed to date as an adult. I needed to go out and experience some things I hadn't as a young father. When I had my son I was only 24 years old. I was a boy myself! Now I'm a grown man with a newborn and a teenager. And this time although I don't own a home or have all of my finances worked out I feel like I know what to do.

Girl colors: 
My daughter's personality is different from my son's of course. He was often very serious as a baby unless you tickled him. And my daughter smiles all the time. One thing I've noticed again which I'm sorry to say is still such as thing is gendered colors. It is almost automatic to get clothes that are pink. Pink is a beautiful color but it sucks that this is the only marker that says female child. Why can't boys wear pink? I dress my daughter in all sorts of colors and have asked many relatives not to buy her pink clothes. I . don't hate the color. Just the idea that it means "girl" to folks. It's funny, often times I dress her in grey's and people will say "he's" so handsome or cute. Sometimes I correct them, and sometimes I marvel at how engrained we all are. Me included.

New parental improvements: 
There are some new parental improvements that I see. For one, all of the clothes I remember had plain colors or one loud image on them like a car or a pony. Now, I see much more variety in children's clothing. My wife and I have been blessed to get lots of hand me downs from friends, my god daughter, and other kids. And I see a huge improvement in kids clothing styles. Not only that, but diaper bags, bibs, place mats, etc all have gotten stylistically much better looking. The strollers are more hardcore. I remember the fancy off road strollers that you often see parents pushing and running with were astronomically expensive. There still are pricy strollers, but some of the advancements have been made more affordable. One thing tat is slightly better but still needs improvements are changing tables in men's bathrooms. When my son was a baby I always had a tough time trying to find a changing table in the bathroom. Often , I'd find a corner and change him on the floor.

Staying home: 
Right now, I am the stay at home dad. I work as a freelancer so I would be at home anyway. But my wife went back to work and is the breadwinner for our family. I feel happy to be able to take care of my daughter and record her new tricks for Mama. But, I also wish I made more money so my wife could stay home with her. Either way, it has meant more than just caring for our daughter. It has meant trying to have dinner ready, wash the mountains of kid laundry, or clean up the whirlwind of our house. All stuff women have done for ages.

I've found that there are certain memories that come back to me about my son when he was a baby. The things he used to do. And so many times I cannot remember a certain thing he did or said and that frustrates the hell out of me. I wish my memory was better.

Anyways, thats it for now. Just some reflections on being a dad again. If you missed it, I got to speak with a dad on this podcast! Stay tuned....

Previous post: Brand new daughter

Apr 2, 2019

Lil Radicals - Brooklyn

What up? Furqan's First Flat Top will be in this exhibition. Go check it out if you're in Brooklyn.

Lil’ Radicals: Multicultural and Social Justice Publications for Kids in the 21st Century
April 6 - May 31, 2019
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 12-5pm 

Opening Reception: April 6, 4-7pm

Contact: Monica Johnson, 
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: @booklynart 

Lil’ Radicalsis an exhibition and celebration independently published children’s books with a focus on multicultural affirmation, social justice education, and empathy development. For reading ages 3-12, these books were either self-published or published by small and independent presses throughout New York City, across the U.S., and in parts of Canada and Europe. Works on view present a dynamic range of stylistic and narrative approaches to children’s publications that will affirm, teach, and comfort children; challenge standards; and surprise adult readers.

In recent years we have witnessed a new and exciting wave of storytelling in children’s literature in response to the wide diversity gap in children’s book publishing. Industry publishers have answered the call for diverse characters and marginalized histories, but tend to stay safely within the bounds of a conservative book market. We wanted to know, where are the diversity stories that aren’t published by the big houses? Well...we found them!

~~~ Featuring work by~~~
Abeni Moreno - Alyssa Dennis - Anthony Tucker - Antoinette Martinez -
Are Not Books - Berns Rothchild & Chris Smith - Blood Orange Press - Callaloo Cultural Literacy for Kids - Double Why - Dr. Artika R. Tyner - Flamingo Rampant Press - Fly Orr & The Lower Eastside Girls Club - Jacinta Bunnell - Justseeds Artists' Cooperative & Radix Media - Katie Yamasaki - Micheline Hess - Nicole Marie Burton - Namiyo Kubo - Phoebe Tran & Nicolette Bull - Robert Liu-Trujillo - Sari Sari Storybooks - Savory Words Publishing - Tim Fite & Daniel Saks - Tomas Moniz & Alicia Dornadic

Books on display include A Rocky Start, by South Bronx public school educator and author, Anthony Tucker, who wrote the book for his students about his own experience as a young boy. Brooklyn based artist, Katie Yamasaki’s Fish for Jimmy tells an adapted version of her own family’s story in Japanese internment camps. The Lower East Side Girls Club in Manhattan brought us a selection of their zines made for and by middle schoolers. Robert Liu-Trujillo, a Bay Area author and illustrator, contributed Furqan’s First Flat Top, a Spanish/English bilingual story of a young boy getting his first flat top haircut at a barbershop with his dad. Finally, Justice Makes a Difference,by Minneapolis based author and educator, Dr. Artika Tyner, tells the tale of a girl named Justice, who, inspired by freedom fighters, dreams of becoming a changemaker herself.

The exhibition also includes small and independent publishers, such as Sari Sari Storybooks, Bay Area publisher of children’s books in the languages of the Philippines; Flamingo Rampant, a Toronto micropress producing feminist, racially-diverse, LGBTQ positive children’s books; and Savory Words, a Deaf-centric publisher based in Maryland has two books on view: Deaf Culture Fairy Talesand Friends, a story about a deaf boy and a hearing boy meeting and learning to communicate.

The books on display are complimented by a reading tent for kids, filled with a library of books on loan from Interference Archive and other donors, and a unique display of 20th century vintage children’s books. A limited inventory of featured books will be available for purchase in our gallery.

We are hosting Saturday programming for kids and families throughout the exhibition. For the most up to date schedule:​ ​https://www.eventbrite.com/o/booklyn-17272663165. We welcome adults and children of all ages, identities, and abilities. If there is anything we can do to support your visit, please email us and let us know: hello@booklyn.org.
Lil' Radicals is organized by Monica Johnson, with research & curriculum by Olivia Siu.

Special thanksto Zoe Beloff, Richard Van Camp, Daniel Tucker, Josh MacPhee, Aimee Lusty, and Interference Archive. This exhibition draws inspiration from​ ​Social Justice Books,​ ​Stories for Free Childrenand​ ​Stay Solid! A Radical Handbook for Youth.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the New York State Legislature and additionally, in part, by funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.