Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code garners Southwest Book Award

I am incredibly pleased to announce the book I illustrated, Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code by Joseph Bruchac (Albert Whitman and Company) has been selected to receive a Southwest Book Award, sponsored by the Border Regional Library Association (BRLA). So proud and grateful! To see all the winners visit: http://www.brla.info/swba18.shtml.


Praise for Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code
  • A perfect, well-rounded historical story that will engage readers of all ages. - Kirkus Reviews starred review
  • Bruchac distills his extensive knowledge about the Navajo code talkers in this complex biography for young readers. - Booklist
  • A can’t-miss picture book biography. - School Library Journal
  • Bruchac movingly draws a parallel between the trauma of indigenous boarding schools and war. Amini-Holmes’s paintings capture the nightmarish atmosphere of both. - Publishers Weekly



Friday, November 2, 2018

KIRKUS REVIEW for Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

For young readers, a nuanced, compassionate biography of a Navajo Code Talker.

Like many Native American children, Betoli, a Navajo boy, was taken from his family to a missionary boarding school, where he was forbidden to speak Navajo and forced to change his name to Chester. He endured the painful process of having his long hair shaved, forlornly depicted in a stark image in which black crows with outspread wings carry away the strips of his hair. Summers spent at home, immersed once again in the love, language, and culture of his people, gave him the strength to carry on. As he got older, Chester adapted as best he could to the forced assimilation. He joined the military during World War II and became one of the first Code Talkers, who used their own language to undermine the Japanese, efforts that helped to end the war. Bruchac’s story dares to go beyond the war in highlighting the postwar trauma that Chester experienced, demonstrated in a beautiful yet haunting illustration that symbolically captures his pain. This tale of a real-life Code Talker humanizes the main character by giving readers the whole picture of his connectedness to home and family, which is reinforced in Amini-Holmes’ textured paintings, which resonate on an almost ethereal level.
A perfect, well-rounded historical story that will engage readers of all ages. (author’s note, partial code key, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CHESTER NEZ AND THE UNBREAKABLE CODE NEWS

Fantastic news about CHESTER NEZ AND THE UNBREAKABLE CODE. First, the book has been named a Junior Library Guild Selection for April 2018, which means that the Junior Library Guild has named it a gold standard book. Second, Kirkus Reviews has given the book a STARRED REVIEW!! I am proud and thankful! Nice mentions about my artwork https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/joseph-bruchac/chester-nez-and-the-unbreakable-code/



                            CHESTER NEZ AND THE UNBREAKABLE CODE by Joseph Bruchac
Kirkus Star

CHESTER NEZ AND THE UNBREAKABLE CODE

A Navajo Code Talker's Story
by  ; illustrated by 
Age Range: 6 - 10

Monday, December 4, 2017

Publishers Weekly Review of "Miracle"


Miracle

Chanavia Haddock, illus. by Liz Amini-Holmes. BookBaby, $11.95 paper (24p) ISBN 978-1-48359-930-4
In a brisk, gentle poem, a brown-skinned girl named Piper Rose stays outside all day in the snow, waiting for a miracle: “Miracle miracle, where are you?/ I’ve searched and I’ve searched the whole day through.” Throughout, Amini-Holmes incorporates the word miracle into the landscape around Piper Rose: she perches on it pensively in the opening spread, and it later appears written in cloudlike letters in the sky, in the branches of a tree, and on the face of the sun. Piper doesn’t take much notice of any of these signs, and in the final pages, readers will understand that she’s holding out for a specific miracle: the appearance of the moon in the night sky. Though miracle is quite literally spelled out on each spread, it’s unclear whether Haddock aims to encourage readers to appreciate small, everyday miracles; the overall effect is that of a contemplative nursery rhyme. Piper Rose’s red coat and windblown, vibrantly striped scarf are an immediate draw in each of Amini-Holmes’s illustrations. The snowy scenes are all quite similar, but they exude a quiet, wintry peacefulness. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
Hardcover - 28 pages - 978-1-4835-8660-1

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

Coming April 1, 2017 from Albert Whitman and Co. I am honored to have illustrated this timely and important story by Joseph Bruchac, the one of the most well regarded  authors of Native American stories 
As a young Navajo boy, Chester Nez had to leave the reservation and attend boarding school, where he was taught that his native language and culture were useless. But Chester refused to give up his heritage. Years later, during World War II, Chester—and other Navajo men like him—was recruited by the US Marines to use the Navajo language to create an unbreakable military code. Suddenly the language he had been told to forget was needed to fight a war. This powerful picture book biography contains backmatter including a timeline and a portion of the Navajo code, and also depicts the life of an original Navajo code talker while capturing the importance of heritage.
https://www.albertwhitman.com/book/chester-nez-unbreakable-code/

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New Book for Spring 2017- The Fantastical Children of Pond Kingdom

I am overjoyed to illustrate  Ruth Finnegan's picture book The Fantastical Children of Pond Kingdom published by Balestier Press-UK
https://www.balestier.com/books/picturebooks/the-fantastical-children-of-pond-kingdom/

Monday, February 27, 2017

Upcoming Book: Code Talkers picture book

I am very pleased to announce my new project for publishers Albert Whitman & Company. I will be illustrating Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac out next spring. Code Talkers are little-known and only recently celebrated group of young Navajo men who created the secret code that led to the victory of World War Two. I am so fortunate to work on this book by illustrating this extraordinary story. I am again honored to bring indigenous peoples stories to light.