Plaza Voices: Duncan Tonatiuh

Our contributor Lisa M. writes:

“Libraries, schools and other organizations are wonderful resources where families or individuals can obtain information that will assist them in their new country.” This is what multi-award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh said.

Educators, library staff and service providers from Colorado and other states heard Duncan share his experiences, from his youth to his process for writing and illustrating his books, during the REFORMA Colorado 6th Annual Conference this past May.

Duncan’s method of illustration is based on Mixtec art.  His ongoing efforts are numerous, with in-depth research, multiple drafts of each page and, after several revisions, a beautiful and unique book.    

His dedication has led Duncan Tonatiuh to win the Pura Belpré Award multiple times, the Robert F. Sibert Award, the Jane Addams Award and the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.

His interest in immigration and segregation stems from being a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, along with having family on both sides of the border.  

Duncan Tonatiuh’s books are important for readers of all ages, introducing tough topics that might otherwise not be discussed. More compelling, especially today, is how his books have created empathy towards others through the experience of sharing these important stories.

A couple of inspirational statements from Duncan Tonatiuh:

What do you advise youth in our communities?
“The more work you put into something, the better it will be. Never give up. Be patient.”

What motivates you with writing?
“When improving on writing, reading!”

Here are a few of Duncan Tonatiuh’s books:

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: a Migrant's Tale

Dear Primo: a Letter to My Cousin

Separate is Never Equal

Diego Rivera: his world and ours

Danza! : Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico 

And you can reserve a copy his newest book, Undocumented: A Worker's Fight, on order now!

Plazas are an open community space where immigrants from all over the world connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice a language, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help! Please see our web page for more information.

Written by Plaza Voices on July 25, 2018


Vivi on August 14, 2018


Duncan's books are amazing and reflect the "journey" of our previous home and our new home.