Born in Long Island, NY. Education: Maryland Institute College of Art, B.F.A., 2003; School of Visual Arts, M.F.A., 2005.
Home—Brooklyn, NY. E-mail—[email protected]
Emily Jenkins, What Happens on Wednesdays, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.
Linda Stanek, The Pig and Miss Prudence, Star Bright Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Tracey E. Fern, Buffalo Music, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Kate Banks, That's Papa's Way, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2009.
Elizabeth Partridge, Big Cat Pepper, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2009.
As children's book illustrator Lauren Castillo noted on her home page, her multicultural heritage exposed her to a "potpourri of cultural traditions" at a young age. "I was surrounded by Spanish paintings, patterned walls and tapestries, old Armenian textiles, ornate furniture, beautiful ceramics, and, of course, lots and lots and lots of books—so many rich visuals that helped to expand and mold my visual vocabulary," Castillo recalled. "I looked forward to weekend trips to my grandparents' houses. Those trips always meant storytelling, which stretched my imagination toward the entire world."
Castillo, who cites Norman Rockwell, Richard Scarry, and Tomie DePaola among her creative influences, landed her first illustration assignment shortly after graduating with a master's degree from New York City's School of Visual Arts. That work, Emily Jenkins's What Happens on Wednesdays, centers on the quiet, familiar activities of a young girl, including naptime and a visit to the local library. According to School Library Journal contributor Amy Lilien-Harper, "Castillo's slightly impressionistic mixed-media illustrations give viewers a real feel for the youngster's Brooklyn neighborhood." The book's images also drew praise from a Publishers Weekly reviewer who wrote that Castillo "shows real skill with color, punctuating urban grays and browns with the girl's red clothes." In Booklist Jennifer Mattson noted that the artist illustrates "rich elements, such as a gorgeously patterned bedspread, in a manner consistent with a child's intense but often selective memory for details."
Castillo also provided the illustrations for Buffalo Music, a picture book by Tracey E. Fern that offers a fictionalized portrait of nineteenth-century conservationist Mary Ann Goodnight. Fern's story centers on Molly and her efforts to nurture a pair of orphaned buffalo calves. "Castillo's smudgy illustrations … invest both Molly and the buffalo calves with enormous personality," observed a critic in an appraisal of Buffalo Music for Kirkus Reviews.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 15, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of What Happens on Wednesdays, p. 47; April 15, 2008, Hazel Rochman, review of Buffalo Music, p. 57.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of What Happens on Wednesdays; April 1, 2008, review of Buffalo Music.
Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007, review of What Happens on Wednesdays, p. 88.
School Library Journal, August, 2007, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of What Happens on Wednesdays, p. 82; May, 2008, Grace Oliff, review of The Pig and Miss Prudence, p. 109.
Lauren Castillo Home Page,http://www.laurencastillo.com (October 31, 2008).
Lauren Castillo Web log,http://www.laurencastillo.blogspot.com (October 31, 2008).
Macmillan Web log,http://us.macmillan.com/ (October 31, 2008), "Lauren Castillo."
Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast Web site,http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/ (April 16, 2008), Emily Jenkins, interview with Castillo.