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Duncan Tonatiuh Presents His Latest Book

By Alexis White

Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuth will help La Biblioteca celebrate Día de los Muertos with a program about his new book, Funny Bones—Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. Tonatiuh will talk about why, thanks to Posada, calacas, and Catrinas came to be associated with Día de los Muertos. The free event will take place in Spanish on Friday, October 30, at 5 pm near the Día de los Muertos ofrenda in the Biblioteca patio.

Funny Bones
By Duncan Tonatiuh
Fri, Oct 30, 5-6pm
La Biblioteca
Insurgentes 25
152 0293

“La Calaca Dead Talks”
Sun, Nov 1, 3:15pm
Instituto Allende
Ancha San Antonio 22

The program will be presented in English during “La Calaca’s Dead Talks” on Sunday, November 1, at 3:15 pm at the Instituto Allende, Insurgentes 22. Children and their families and friends are welcome to attend.

Funny Bones—Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras is the story of José Guadalupe Posada, Mexico’s most famous political printmaker and engraver whose satirical artwork during the time of Porfirio Díaz and the Mexican Revolution are world-renowned. Kirkus Reviews, in acknowledging the book’s publication, wrote that “Tonatiuh further marks himself as a major nonfiction talent with this artistically beautiful and factually accessible offering that effectively blends artistic and political content for young readers.”

Using his signature Mixtec-influenced illustrations as well as works by Posada, Tonatiuh presents an easily understood narrative about the printing processes Posada used, the development of his style, and his life. Through Socratic questioning, Tonatiuh engages young readers in thinking about the meaning of Posada’s work. Like almost all of Tonatiuh’s books, Funny Bones includes the author’s notes with facts and expansive information about the subject, plus glossaries and more to jumpstart adult-child discussions.

A graduate of the Parsons New School for Design and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts of The New School, both in New York City, Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City but raised in San Miguel. He was encouraged to become comfortable around the many books in his family’s home and to borrow books, which he did from La Biblioteca. Tonatiuh’s illustrations are hand drawn and then digitally colored and collaged. Honoring his past, he uses bright and child-appealing illustrations inspired by pre-Columbian art, particularly Mixtec codices.

Tonatiuh recently was at the United States Library of Congress to receive the Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature for his book Separate is Never Equal. It is one of many awards and recognition he has received for his children’s literature.

Funny Bones was glowingly reviewed by the New York Times Sunday Book Review October 10, calling the story “captivating” and “respecting the … mystery even of life and death.”

Tonatiuh was the 2014 Artist-in-Residence at the San Miguel’s Writer’s Conference, where he led a writing workshop for teens. In 2013, the Akron (Ohio) Art Museum invited Tonatiuth to create a large-scale mural.

Tonatiuh’s books are available in limited supply at the Librería la Musa Hosca on Mesones 38, located in front of the Plaza Civica. They can be bought online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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