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home : see & do : see & do August 27, 2015


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4/22/2013 2:01:00 PM
Children's book encourages napping in the afternoon
Book signing at the Worm Bookstore on April 27
Marisa Bonilla is the pen name of Mary Louise Page, a sixth-generation Spanish Californian, who began writing children’s stories in her 70s.
Marisa Bonilla is the pen name of Mary Louise Page, a sixth-generation Spanish Californian, who began writing children’s stories in her 70s.
Tony De Luz is an award-winning artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and teacher.  De Luz represented Massachusetts in the legendary Absolut Vodka’s Statehood campaign, and he even created a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service to commemorate the addition of baseball as a medal sport in the summer Olympics.
Tony De Luz is an award-winning artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and teacher. De Luz represented Massachusetts in the legendary Absolut Vodka’s Statehood campaign, and he even created a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service to commemorate the addition of baseball as a medal sport in the summer Olympics.

Anyone who loves naps -- or wants a reason to take them -- will enjoy The Queen Who Loved to Take Naps, a new picture book inspired by the Spanish siesta tradition. Set in Spain many years ago, it tells the story of a queen who made her kingdom happier by decreeing that all her subjects take time out in the afternoon to rest and refresh themselves.

The story, written by Marisa Bonilla, has a fairytale-like feel, which is charmingly complemented by whimsical pen-and-ink drawings. These images by artist, designer, and illustrator Tony De Luz were inspired by the classic 1920s children's tale Ferdinand the Bull.

The Queen Who Loved to Take Naps will have its public debut at a reading and book signing on Saturday, April 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.-with a reading at 3 p.m.-at the Worm Bookstore in the Oak Creek Factory Outlets. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.



Creative collaboration

The Queen Who Loved to Take Naps is the third creative collaboration between Bonilla and De Luz -- both long-time residents of the Village of Oak Creek. Each book has a different focus and feel, but all three celebrate Hispanic culture and traditions. (The other two books are Coyote Rings the Bell, a retelling of a Sonoran folk tale in both English and Spanish, and Maria Luisa's Birthday Party, a warm-hearted story set in contemporary times but with traditional Spanish elements, such as cascarones, colorful eggshells filled with confetti, and a piñata.)



The author

Marisa Bonilla is the pen name of Mary Louise Page, a sixth-generation Spanish Californian, who began writing children's stories in her 70s. Her bilingual and bicultural books celebrate her Spanish heritage. (Marisa is a contraction of Maria Luisa, the Spanish version of her first and middle names. Bonilla is a family surname, which brings back fond memories of her maternal grandfather.)

Bonilla fell in love with the sounds and rhythms of the Spanish language when her grandfather told stories and sang Spanish folk songs, while accompanying himself on the guitar and mandolin. She went on to study Spanish at the University of California and the University of the Andes in Bogota, Columbia, and then taught Spanish and English as a second language for many years.



The illustrator

Tony De Luz is an award-winning artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and teacher. He started drawing when he was 2 years old. "I always knew I was going to be an artist," De Luz recalls. Although he grew up in a poor Boston neighborhood, he began his formal training at the Boston Latin School, with classes at both Phillips Academy Andover and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts when he was in high school.

He went on to college at Eastern New Mexico University and was the first member of his family to receive a B.A. After college, he worked for Hill Holliday, one of the top advertising agencies in the country.

De Luz represented Massachusetts in the legendary Absolut Vodka's Statehood campaign, and he even created a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service to commemorate the addition of baseball as a medal sport in the summer Olympics. In addition to paintings that hang in galleries in Sedona and Jerome, his work is in collections throughout the United States.



Rewarding, serendipitous meeting

Page published her first book Rimas Infantiles (Nursery Rhymes) in 2006, a bilingual collection of Spanish nursery rhymes, but she stopped writing after her husband passed away.

Then a serendipitous meeting in 2010 brought Page and De Luz together. This rekindled her creative spirit and the happiness and passion she feels when writing children's stories. "What's important to me is to do what I love and to do it with Tony as my creative partner," says Bonilla. "Tony is a joy to work with. His illustrations make me laugh."

Although De Luz has made his mark in the art world in many different arenas, he had never before illustrated a children's book. In fact, he never even encountered one as a child because he read at the 12th grade level in kindergarten. Working with Bonilla has introduced him to a new genre of books and art. "It's fun," says De Luz. "Each project is fresh and new."

For more information about the book signing, call the Worm Bookstore at 928-282-3471.


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