¡Viva Neruda!

                                                                                                                                                                Several years ago I showed this image of a boater in a sea of words to Reka Simonsen, my editor at Holt. She sent me a wonderful manuscript – a biography of Pablo Neruda written by Monica Brown -and asked if I would like to illustrate it in this “wordy” style.This fall our book, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People won an Orbis Pictus Honor Award and an Américas Award. I am in Washington, DC to receive the Américas award in a ceremony at the Library of Congress on October 5th. It is a huge honor and a thrill to be here.

Whenever I am given a manuscript to illustrate I see it as a door to go through. This book led me to Neruda’s poetry and to Chile. My husband and I visited Chile in 2009 and went to Neruda’s three homes.  Here is a  street in Valparaiso.

Because of this book I signed up for a Spanish class and I have continued studying Spanish since then. I still have a long way to go! For each illustration I harvested words from Neruda’s poems and memoirs. I wrote lists of words in English and Spanish that related to the subject of that page.

Then I painted the word flow taking words from my lists that rhymed and chimed. The words bounce off of each other with their sounds and their meanings. I considered the way that each word related to the words around it on all sides and I considered the way that the words cumulatively reinforced the meaning of Monica’s text.  

                                                                                                                                                                  Here is a picture of Neruda celebrating life at his House of Flowers in Spain.

If you would like to see the celebration at the Library of Congress you will soon be able to look at a webcast. Webcasts from other years are posted at the website of CLASP (Consortium of Latin American Studies).  ¡Viva Neruda!

Here are photos. One is of Margarita Engle (left), me (center) and Monica Brown(right). The other is of John Cole giving us a tour of the Library of Congress.

26 responses to “¡Viva Neruda!

  1. Congratulations, Julie! That’s fabulous, and well deserved.

  2. Julie, this is beyond wonderful! What a terrific series of experiences, and work, and the award & ceremony the frosting on top… I’m really looking forward to the webcast too. Congratulations!

  3. What an honor, Julie!
    We’re cheering for you in the other Washington.

  4. Hooray! I’ve always loved this book–the words, the images, and how they weave together on each page to reveal more sounds, colors, movement, and the pure joy of creation. I’m delighted that you’ve won this spectacular award–enjoy every moment of this exciting ride and your celebration today!

  5. Congratulations! Your posts and life are inspirational!

  6. This award is so well-deserved. Our best wishes sail eastward to you.

  7. So amazing! You are a treasure and it is good that the world is taking notice. You go SOOOO deep with your research and produce such delicious produce.

  8. sally pritchard

    Julie, that’s wonderful. I can’t wait to get this book.


  9. Felicidades, Julie!! Que les vaya bien en Washington. Come back with lots of pictures and stories to share with us, amiga.

  10. I am so happy for you! The illustrations are powerful and match the brilliant Neruda poems. Did you see his shell collection?

    • Yes – we went to Isla Negra in 2009 and saw his shell collection and many other amazing objects. I loved the figureheads.

  11. Yo Julie,
    I couldn’t resist a follow-up comment to note that the Kirkus award quote on the Americas Award website you linked to in your post got it right:
    “Julie Paschkis’ illustrations make this book a ‘visual and thematic stunner’!” Yea!

  12. Doesn’t surprise us a bit . Your books are a delight.
    Love, Doreen and Roger

  13. Gwendolyn Emminger

    ¡Felicidades! Es maravilloso que recibir un honor para tu hermosa obra. Es interesante saber la inspiración para estudiar español. Las palabras te están esperando. 🙂

  14. ViVA! Julie
    Bravo for such Beauty

    • Thanks to everyone for all of your comments.Today was amazing. All of the people associated with the Americas Award are great, and it was especially wonderful to finally meet Monica Brown (author of Pablo Neruda and many other books) and Margarita Engle (author of Summer Birds and many other books). We got a tour of the Library of Congress and saw Thomas Jefferson’s library within the Jefferson building.
      Buenas noches amigos –

  15. This is such a great blog, Julie. I loved reading about your process in coming to know Neruda and in illustrating the book. You are a woman of many gifts! Thanks for sharing! And Congratulations!!!

  16. Congratulations! I LOVE the top painting of the boater, I remember seeing it on 7 Impossible Things. I’m really looking forward to seeing your Pablo Neruda book now!

  17. The use of handwritten words within the illustrations is a brilliant addition to add many layers to what are already beautifully designed and colored compositions. Brava, Julie!

  18. Congrats Julie- these illustrations are insanely gorgeous!

  19. Congratulations, Julie!! What a well-deserved honor. I just bought your Glass Slipper Gold Sandal book last week at the Pacific NW Ballet’s gift shop. A beautiful synthesis of designs and patterns from world cultures telling the Cinderella story. Have fun in D.C.!

  20. Viva Julie!!! Beautiful artwork!

  21. Congratulations Julie, So well deserved, the illustrations are gorgeous!

  22. Congratulations! What an honor!

  23. Congratulations Julie!

  24. Wow Julie! Amazing accomplishment. The illustrations and story were so well complemented and reminded me lots of Neruda. What a great poet to be linked to. Congratulations. Thanks for illuminating our world with your images.

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