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Lulu Delacre (1957-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1957, in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico; daughter of Georges Carlos (a philosophy professor) and Marta (a French professor; Education: Attended University of Puerto Rico, 1976-77; Ecole Supérieure d'Arts Graphiques, degree (first in class), 1980. Religion: Roman Catholic.

Career

Children's book author and freelance illustrator, 1980—. Juror for Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, 1997, and National Book Award, 2003. Exhibitions: Artwork exhibited at Muséo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; University of Puerto Rico Art Museum, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY; Keene State College Children's Literature Gallery; Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico; and elsewhere.

Member

Authors Guild, Children's Book Guild of Washington, DC, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

American Bookseller Pick of the Lists designation, 1991, for Peter Cottontail's Easter Book, 1993, for Vejigantes Masquerader, and 1994 for The Bossy Gallito; Américas Book Award, and National Council of Teachers of English Notable Children's Book in Language Arts designation, both 1993, both for Vejigantes Masquerader; Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies designation, Aesop Accolade listee, and New York Public Library Best Book for Reading and Sharing designation, all 1994, and Pura Belpré Honor, American Library Association, 1996, all for The Bossy Gallito; Américas Commended Title, 1996, for Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America, and 2000, for Salsa Stories; named Maryland Woman in the Arts, 1998; named Write from Maryland Author, 1999; Notable Book for a Global Society designation, and Outstanding International Books listee, both International Reading Association, and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People designation, Children's Book Council, all 2000, and Criticas Best Books for 2002 listee, all for Salsa Stories.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

A.B.C. Rhymes, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1984.

Counting Rhymes, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1984.

Kitten Rhymes, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1984.

Lullabies, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1984.

Nathan and Nicholas Alexander, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1986.

Nathan's Fishing Trip, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1988.

Good Time with Baby, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1989.

Time for School, Nathan!, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1989.

Arroz con leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America, translation by Elena Paz, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1989.

Las navidades: Popular Christmas Songs from Latin America, translation by Elena Paz, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990.

Peter Cottontail's Easter Book, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1991.

Nathan's Balloon Adventure, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1991.

Vejigantes Masquerader, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1993.

Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1996.

Salsa Stories, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 2000.

Rafi and Rosi, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Rafi and Rosi: Carnival!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), in press.

ILLUSTRATOR

Hannah Kimball, Maria and Mr. Feathers, Follett Pub. Co. (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Oretta Leigh, Aloysius Sebastian Mozart Mouse, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1984.

Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and Other Stories, J. Messner (New York, NY), 1985.

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows: The Open Road, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1985.

Lucía M. González, reteller, The Bossy Gallito, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1994.

Lucía M. González, reteller, Señor Cat's Romance, and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, Scholastic Inc. (New York, NY), 1997.

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Shake It, Morena!, and Other Folklore from Puerto Rico, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

Georgina Lázaro, El flamboyán amarillo, Lectorum Publications (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Sesame Street, World, Your Big Backyard, Nuestra Gente, and Scholastic Storyworks, as well as to textbooks for Macmillan, Houghton Mifflin, Follett Publishing Co., Scott Foresman, Addison Wesley, and Rigby Elsevier.

Sidelights

Lulu Delacre began her career as an illustrator in 1980, shortly after graduating from art school, but quickly moved into writing her own picture-book texts for young children with her 1986 work Nathan and Nicholas Alexander. While continuing to create artwork for authors such as Georgina Lázaro, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, and Lucía M. González, Delacre has also explored her own Latina heritage in works such as Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America, Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games, and Rafi and Rosi, the last a picture book that depicts the day-to-day goings-on in the lives of two tree frogs in Delacre's characteristic pastel-toned colored pencil and watercolor wash. "I delight in creating books that portray my own culture with authenticity in both words and pictures," Delacre noted on her Web site. "And if painting the people and the places of Latin America true to their own beauty fosters respect; or if sharing some of their golden tales builds bridges, I want to keep on doing it."

Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America collects stories that the author/illustrator recalls from her childhood in Puerto Rico. Some of the stories included are taken from native cultures, while others concern the Spanish conquistadores or have even more recent origins. Delacre also includes a map showing the areas referred to in the stories, as well as a guide to the pronunciation of Spanish and native Indian terms that provides help for careful readers. Praising the book as "impressively presented," Booklist contributor Annie Ayers commended Delacre for assembling an anthology sure to be "welcomed by all who have … sought in vain for such an introductory treasury." Containing what Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman described as "bright beautiful oil-wash illustrations," Delacre's Arrorró mi niño similarly collects fifteen lullabies, singing games, and other cradle songs that "reflect the diversity of the Latino experience."Of Argentinian ancestry, Delacre was born in Puerto Rico, and had an idyllic childhood exploring the nearby beaches with her older sister Cecilia. The two sisters often were put in the care of their grandmother, and Delacre once recalled to Something about the Author (SATA) that the woman "had set a space aside where each one of us had a big pile of drawings that we did while at her home. I liked to colour a lot and always rejoiced at the sight of the growing pile." Encouraging the girls' efforts, Delacre's grandmother never threw away any of their work, and when Delacre—who described herself as "a skinny, small, big-eared girl"—turned ten years old, her equally supportive parents enrolled her in drawing lessons.

By the time she was in high school, Delacre was certain that she wanted to become a commercial artist. After graduation she moved to Paris, France, where she studied photography, typography, design, and illustration at the Ecole Supérieure d'Arts Graphiques and graduated at the top of her class. As she recalled to SATA: "One day, during my second year of studies in Paris, I went to see an exhibit at a small gallery near the school. It was an exhibit on the work of Maurice Sendak. When I left the gallery, very much impressed, I suddenly realized that I wanted to become a good children's book illustrator; something I am still working at." Reviewers have consistently praised Delacre's contributions to illustrated children's literature, Maeve Visser Knoth noting in a Horn Book review of Lucia M. González' Señor Cat's Romance, and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America that Delacre's "vivid, sprightly paintings" contain the "many regional details" that strengthen the book's multicultural appeal.

Now making her home in the United States, Delacre has traveled widely, visiting many schools across the country and also touring overseas. "Besides living in Puerto Rico, Argentina, Paris, and the United States," she once explained, "I have been to Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and England. My mother language is Spanish, but I speak fluent French and English." "I believe childhood should be a wonderful stage in a person's life," she once told SATA, and if my drawings add a little happiness in a child's day, I consider my life fulfilled."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of The Bossy Gallito, p. 1680; December 15, 1996, Annie Ayers, review of Golden Tales: Myths, Legends and Folktales from Latin America, p. 722; February 1, 1997, Karen Morgan, review of Señor Cat's Romance, and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, p. 943; May 1, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Salsa Stories, p.1665; July, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games, p. 1846.

Horn Book, September-October, 1994, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of The Bossy Gallito: A Traditional Cuban Folk Tale, p. 602; March-April, 1997, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of Señor Cat's Romance, and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, p. 207.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of Shake It, Morena!, and Other Folklore from Puerto Rico, p. 406.

Publishers Weekly, January 11, 1993, review of Vejigantes Masquerader, p. 63; January 6, 1997, review of Señor Cat's Romance, and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, p. 73; March 20, 2000, review of Salsa Stories, p. 94.

School Library Journal, March, 2000, Ann Welton, review of Salsa Stories, p. 237; August, 2002, Paul M. Kienlen, review of Salsa Stories, p. S59.

ONLINE

Lulu Delacre Web site, http://www.luludelacre.com/ (January 5, 2005).

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