In 1994, at Maya's first art opening in San Francisco, she met Harriet Rohmer, the founder of Children's Book Press. When Harriet asked her if she was interested in making art for a children's book, she felt as though she had come home. But home to a place she never knew existed. Since then she has created art for over 20 children's books and written 3 of those. These creations also led her to work in schools throughout the country and eventually co-found her own press with her partner, Matthew.
Focusing on the very big idea of peace, this small book is compact enough to carry with you wherever you go. Part story book and part guided journal, i see peace uncovers the truth about a very real and personal experience of peace and how to create it in our own lives. Award-winning children's book illustrator/author and educator, Maya Gonzalez uses simple words and even more simple ink drawings to create both a universal and intimate experience of peace. Readers are invited to not only write in the guided journal portion of the book, but to draw or color all over the book. Come play with Maya and learn that peace is often closer than we think. For more information about i see peace, to view inside, or watch the kickstarter video that made the book possible, visit the Reflection Press website.
Claiming Face: Self-Empowerment through Self-Portraiture
An Educator's Guide to Building the Powerful Link
Between Creativity and A Sense of Self
Written by Maya, this curriculum uses a vast and diverse sense of self-portraiture as a tool for self-empowerment. This guide is a culmination of 17 years of Maya's work with students and educators across the country. For the first time, Maya assembles in one place and speaks to the powerful work of Claiming Face. This is also the first book published under her new venture, Reflection Press. For more detailed information about Claiming Face and the work of Reflection Press or to view inside the guide, visit the Reflection Press website.
Claiming Face is not about art, although art is made. Claiming Face is about life.
Claiming Face is about claiming Self.
Gender Now Coloring Book
A Learning Adventure for Children and Adults
Maya combines her artistic talent with her activism in this empowering coloring book for children of all ages. Breaking wide open the limitations of "boy" and "girl," Maya encourages everyone to expand into their truest selves. Gender is something relevant to all of us because we all express gender. Gender Now is meant to provide reflection and support unity by showing multiple genders standing together. It is a specific opportunity to create balance and awareness by including gender expressions that are under-represented in our current culture. For more information about Gender Now and the coloring book or the School Edition Activity Book visit the Reflection Press website.
My Colors, My World/Mis Colores, Mi Mundo
The 2008 Pura Belpré Honor Award Winner, My Colors, My World was the first book that Maya both wrote and illustrated. This is a bilingual English/Spanish book about looking for colors in the world. The understory in this book is that the girl is looking for herself after an event that has changed everything in her world. Her world has gone flat and colorless. In looking for color in her world, she actually finds her own reflection and beauty in the world around her. Children's Book Press (now an imprint of Lee & Low Books) also released a board book of this title.
Here's a "secret" in this book: Turn the book upside down on pages 2-3, do you see the faces on the windy swirls? They are based on Eccentric Flints used as ritual tools in Meso-America. They have lips and noses, but no eyes.
The Américas Award Honorable Metion Winner, I Know the River Loves Me was a continuation of the sentiment started in My Colors, My World. Again this bilingual English/Spanish book tells the story of little Maya finding herself in nature and the world around her. This was the first book that Maya used Charcoal and Ink, very different from her usual vibrant acrylics. She chose charcoal for the girl because she wanted her appearance to be dramatic and stand out from the river. She used inks for the environment because so much of the environment was the river and she wanted a material that was in itself flow-y and watery. This book is a tribute to one of Maya's favorite rivers, the Yuba River in eastern California.
Here's a "secret" about this book: The river told Maya this tale! She tells kids this story,"I visit the Yuba river every year, she is one of my good friends. One summer, I was sitting with her and she began telling me a story. I listened. I didn't know if it was a children's story or an adult story. I just paid attention and held it in my mind. When I got back to the city, my friend Dana called from Children's Book Press and asked if I could do a book for them and if I had a story. I laughed out loud. 'Yes!' I said. 'The river just told me one.' She must have known I was going to need one."