Illustrator Elizabeth Zunon

Happy Friday, everyone! I met illustrator Elizabeth Zunon at a school library conference in Albany, New York. I enjoyed chatting with her in person, and I am THRILLED she agreed to visit Watch. Connect. Read. to finish my sentences. We chatted about Great-grandmother Nell, Nikki Grimes, science fair competitions, and picture books. I wrote the words in purple, and Elizabeth wrote the words in black. Thank you, Elizabeth! 

Great-grandmother Nell wanted to be a prima ballerina, but couldn't because of racism and segregation. At least, this is the back story that I created in my mind for why she has a ballerina doll on her bed. I think it's a ballerina doll of herself!

Illustration Credit: Elizabeth Zunon
I created the illustrations for Don’t Call Me Grandma on brown-colored Canson paper using brush markers, Micron pens, gel pens, pastel colored pencils and cut paper. Oh, and some watercolor paint.

Nikki Grimes and I have never met! I don't often meet my authors...Hopefully one day! But I know that she is very artistic and I've learned from her Facebook page that she has quite a botanical thumb... I'm trying to keep my potted succulent plants alive and am only half-succeeding. The plant tag says “I thrive on neglect” Hellooooo, does that mean I've neglected them too much? My peony and iris bushes in the backyard are doing pretty well, though!

Did you know Isatou Ceesay came to my house???? With Miranda Paul!!!! It was so awesome. Isatou Ceesay is so much more than the inspiring young woman in One Plastic Bag. She is warm and friendly, giving and kind, and a true pioneer in her efforts to empower women to succeed. She is the reason that I stop myself before throwing something in the trash that could be recycled because I ask myself: “will this end up polluting someone's garden, playground, or sidewalk? And do I want to be responsible for doing that?” Nope.

I think William Kamkwamba should be a judge at school science fair competitions. He basically created a science fair project that brought his family out of poverty and changed their lives forever! By building his windmills (one that powered a light bulb and one that was able to pump water to irrigate his family's corn fields), William Kamkwamba is a true example that anyone can overcome anything and achieve.

Picture books are the perfect way for me to express myself artistically. They are the perfect little package of story, art and design, and they allow me to jump into a world I've never been before, and explore where that takes me!

Illustration Credit: Elizabeth Zunon
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… What I do when I'm not illustrating books! I'm crafting! I'm probably figuring out what I can put a silk-screen of a pineapple on, or what I can attach my plethora of little tassels to. (The answer to that one is earrings, purses and possibly my shoes. I'm really into tassels right now.)

Borrow Don't Call Me Grandma from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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