One of our favorite illustrators of all time, Rafael Lopez creates the most colorful & celebratory illustrations. His heart for community and coming together across all barriers comes out in his sweet diverse characters playing together in all his books. The brightest colors & widest smiles dance across each page, and we get lost in the party and inspired by his hope-filled imaginations.

Want to know a little bit of what he’s like? We want to share this quick auto-bio excerpt from Rafael’s website: “I was born in Mexico City and both my parents were architects. Growing up, I drew on just about everything. As a child, I rode over an hour by metro to get to the library and liked to spend the whole day there. Books took me to many faraway places and I was fascinated by images from different cultures . At the age of eleven, I had the chance to live for a short time in Exeter, England where I learned to use a printing press and made my first book. I studied at Art Center College of Design and after graduation traveled around Europe and Africa filling up sketchbooks and mailing letters home to Mexico. Because I practiced a lot I eventually got to create art for postal stamps to stick on my letters.”

Book Fiesta 
Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

This book, which celebrates Children’s Day/World Book Day is one of the most magical and whimsical pieces of literature you will ever pick up. Every time you pick it up, we promise you’ll want to revel in every turn of the page. The nutshell? Glimpses of children reading all over the world on World Book Day.  Each illustration feels straight out of the imagination of a child who has just discovered the power of stories, and reminds me to always work to get books in the hands of all the children around me.

Drum Dream Girl

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Inspired by the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban female drummer whose music transcended and shaped traditional gender expectations and made a way for more female percussionists. 

My Name is Celia/Me Llamo Celia by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

The story of the legendary Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa.

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Maybe Something Beautiful
Written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

OH. MY. WORD. The story of little Mira, a young artist who loves to share her art with the world, and how art brings her community together. Breaking down barriers, bringing light into fear, and bringing color to grey, dancing, planting, painting on walls… let’s just say: this is our favorite.

Tito Puente: Mambo King/ Tito Puente: Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

The story of musician Tito Puente and how he became the “Mambo King.”