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Children’s Book Illustrations From First LatinX Caldecott Winner On Display In Irving 12

Time’s runing out to see  Yuyi Morales: Soñadora (Dreamer) at the Irving Arts Center. The traveling art exhibition, organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature,  ends its run on January 30. The national group exhibits, tours, collects, preserves, and promotes original art from the finest children’s literature.

Yuyi Morales: Soñadora. Through January 30. 3333 North MacArthur Blvd., Irving. Details.

Every year, the group collaborates with award-winning illustrators to showcase their artwork first with an exhibition at their museum, and then the show goes on the road for a national tour.

Marcie Inman is director of Exhibitions & Educational Programs at the Irving Arts Center. When she heard that the children’s literature center was producing an exhibition on Yuyi Morales, Inman jumped into action.

“I was just really excited about it, and I wanted to be sure that that we got the show as soon as possible.” The Irving Arts Center is the first stop on the national tour.

Viva Frida (Vivo! I live!), Yuyi Morales, © 2014

Inman was surprised to learn Morales is the first LatinX artist the children’s literature center has featured. Morales is also the first LatinX artist to receive the prestigious Caldecott Honor for her 2014 book, “Viva Frida.”

“Her Frida Kahlo book is incredible because the illustrations are photographs of dioramas that she created with handcrafted puppets and props,” said Inman. “She just has a wonderful dynamic and warm style.”

Georgia in Hawaii (And Georgia painted flowers!), Yuyi Morales, © 2012

“She works with a variety of media including drawing, painting, and digital collaging. The use of color and line in her work is strong, expressive, and clear.”

“If I could ask for a talent, it would be to become a color genius.” – Yuyi Morales

Floating on Mama’s Song (Now Mama sings every day), Yuyi Morales, © 2010

“There’s this sort of surrealism thread that kind of runs through her work as well. People sort of floating and flying an being up and about in space is kind of a characteristic of her work so it just kind of adds a sort of dreamlike, fun, surreal aspect to her compositions.”

Viva Frida (Vivo! I live!), Yuyi Morales, © 2014

“Her upbringing in Mexico is very evident. The sense of indigenous art and the kind of folk art that you associate with Mexican culture is often very, very evident.”

Dreamers (And when we made it to the other side), Yuyi Morales, © 2018

Yuyi Morales immigrated to the United States with her American husband and son in 1994. Her mother-in-law introduced Yuyi and her son to the local public library and its children’s section. The images in the picture books allowed Morales to understand what was going on in the stories without knowing the words. Morales fell in love with the picture books. They ignited a passion in her to write her own stories and illustrate them herself.

Dreamers (Cover), Yuyi Morales, © 2018

Morales brings an immigrant’s perspective to many of her stories. “‘Dreamers,’ one of her most recent publications, is about her story, her story and her son’s story of coming to the United States and their learning to adapt to their new life. And it brings the kind of whole immigrant story really to the fore…in a very kind of passionate, warm and inspirational way,” said Inman.

Just in Case – A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book (Cover), Yuyi Morales, © 2008

Visitors can view Yuyi Morales: Soñadora in person during gallery hours are 12 noon – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. Free, timed-entry passes are available online at the Irving Arts Center website or by calling 972.252.ARTS (2787).

Don’t feel like venturing out? The exhibition can also be viewed from the comfort of home, at any time, with a 360 virtual tour available on their website.

Got a tip? Email Gila Espinoza at You can follow her on Twitter @espinoza_kera.

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