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Author Focus: Illustrator Lauren Castillo

July 19, 2016

One of my favorite illustrators is Lauren Castillo. I love the playfulness in her art. The friendly, open faces of the girls and boys make her illustrations very accessible to both children and adults.

Castillo has illustrated books for authors such as Eve Bunting, Kate Banks, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley.  Castillo has also pulled double duty on several books, illustrating and writing three titles in particular.

Not every animal is suited to be a family pet. In Melvin and the Boy, a turtle named Melvin is the pet in question. But is Melvin really the pet the boy wants? He doesn’t play, meet other pets, or share a snack of pretzels. What will bring Melvin out of his shell? Read this book if you love turtles (there are some great turtle facts at the end of the book), or if you have a child who really wants a pet. It might bring about a good conversation about what kind of pets are most appropriate for your family, and what kind of care a pet needs.

What do you get when you put together a brother, a sister, some stuffed animals, and a sneaky raccoon? The Troublemaker! One of the things I like best about this book is how it depicts the protagonist’s imaginative play. A game of pirates, however, is an opportunity to discuss how one shouldn’t take their sibling’s things without asking. Read this book if you have warring brothers and sisters in your house, or if you have children that love animals and playing pretend.

A Caldecott Honor book, Nana in the City details a young boy’s visit to his Nana in the city. He loves his Nana, he says, but he doesn’t love the city. It’s busy, loud, and “filled with scary things.” Nana doesn’t agree. She thinks living in the city is marvelous, especially for a Nana! In fact, she knows just how to make her grandchild see the city through her eyes. Spoiler alert: there’s some knitting involved. You’ll have to read the book to find out. This is great book for a child preparing for a visit to grandparents who live far away, or in a community different from their own.

All three of these books are great aloud for young children. And you can find them-along with other books illustrated by Lauren Castillo-at the Library!

Klem-Mari Cajigas


In a former life, Klem-Marí was a Religious Studies scholar. She much prefers being the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life! She wants you to read and share books with the children in your life, and for those children to see you to read as well. Originally from Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí also enjoys her cat, baking, yoga, and the works of Octavia Butler.