Juan, Ana 1961-
Juan, Ana 1961-
Born 1961, in Valencia, Spain. Education: Attended Fine Arts University of Valencia.
Home—Madrid, Spain. E-mail—[email protected]
Artist and illustrator. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at Notuno Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland, 1988; 121 Green Street Green Galeria, New York, NY, 1994; Art Miami, 1994; Galeria Tiempos Modernos, Madrid, Spain, 1997; Galeria Sen, Madrid, 1999; and Gallery Maria José Castellví, Barcelona, Spain, 2003.
Awards from Society of Newspaper Design; Notable Book selection, American Library Association, Américas Award Honor designation, and Parenting magazine Best Book designation, all 2002, all for Frida; Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2005, for The Night Eater.
The Night Eater, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Cuentos populares españoles, Anaya (Madrid, Spain), 2002.
Jonah Winter, Frida, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, La bella durmiente, Anaya (Madrid, Spain), 2003.
Campbell Geeslin, Elena's Serenade, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.
Rudyard Kipling, Los libros de la selva, translation by Gabriela Bustelo, Anaya (Madrid, Spain), 2004.
Tranquita tragaleguas y otros cuentos, Alfagura (Madrid, Spain), 2004.
Kelly Cunnane, For You Are a Kenyan Child, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.
Monique de Varennes, The Jewel Box Ballerinas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to magazines and newspapers, including New Yorker, Madriz, Geo, Vibe, Marie Claire, American Spectator, and Boston Globe.
Author's works have been translated into Spanish.
Ana Juan is the author and illustrator of the award-winning picture book The Night Eater. A native of Valencia, Spain, Juan developed an early interest in the arts. "During my childhood, I spent hours over hours drawing or making copies from old illustrations," she remarked on the Scholastic Web site. Juan recalled that she was especially fascinated by a treasured copy of One Thousand and One Nights, a volume of Persian tales. "The stories were full of magic, and the beautiful old illustrations caught me," she explained.
After graduating from art school, Juan began work on a variety of projects, including paintings for gallery exhibitions, book illustrations, movie posters, album jackets, and magazine work. She became a regular contributor to the New Yorker, and her stunning covers drew the attention of editors at Scholastic, who asked her if she would consider book illustration. Her first children's-book project, Jonah Winter's Frida, is a biography of celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Born in 1907, Kahlo was stricken with polio as a child and at age eighteen was nearly killed in a devastating bus accident. Crippled and suffering from chronic pain, Kahlo was bedridden for long periods of time, and she turned to art for solace. Her brightly colored paintings, combining elements of symbolism and surrealism, were greatly influenced by Mexican culture. According to New York Times Book Review contributor Martha Davis Beck, "Juan captures the spirit of the artist's environment and personality" in "dreamlike paintings … inspired by the folk art that surrounded Kahlo as a child and that she collected as an adult, including a devil, a jaguar and a dancing candy skull." In the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Deborah Stevenson noted that Juan's acrylic illustrations have "a slightly softened, wide-eyed air that gives them their own mood rather than being merely imitative," while "the child Frida has a round yet austere face, her expression distant and her eyes downcast as she focuses on the world of her visions rather than the real world." Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, reviewing Frida for School Library Journal, also praised Juan's artwork, stating that her "brilliant colors and expressionistic style convey the sense of daring and the excitement that Kahlo demonstrated" in her own life and works.
Juan also served as the illustrator for Campbell Geeslin's Elena's Serenade and Kelly Cunnane's For You Are a Kenyan Child. Set in Mexico, Elena's Serenade concerns a young girl who decides to enter the male-dominated world of glassblowing and discovers that she possesses some amazing talents. "Juan's lush illustrations in desert tones, textured with scratches and splatters of ink, make the story's fantastical elements soar," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, and Tracy Bell commented in School Library Journal that the artist "uses striking color combinations and shifting perspective to keep attention focused on the child and her
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
changing emotions." A boy's daily activities in his village are the focus of For You Are a Kenyan Child, and here Juan's illustrations "show a colorful, richly pastel Kenya imbued with gently pink skies, lush green farms, and rainbow-hued animals," according to Horn Book critic Anita L. Burkam.
Juan received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for The Night Eater, "an unusual, enchanting blend of sophistication and simple storytelling," in the opinion of Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper. Each night, a mischievous, roly-poly figure wearing a sleeping cap and a beaked nose tucks behind the moon and gobbles up the darkness, paving the way for the sun to rise again. When the moon points out that the Night Eater has gained weight, the chubby fellow refuses to eat, sending the world into darkness. The story's "sense of magic realism … is matched in Juan's richly colored acrylic-and-wax paintings," noted School Library Journal reviewer Robin L. Gibson, while a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that the artist's "uncanny imagery is the stuff of dreams."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Frida, p. 1148; March 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Elena's Serenade, p. 1194; December 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of The Night Eater, p. 738; February 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 66.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2002, Deborah Stevenson, review of Frida; December, 2004, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Night Eater, p. 173; March, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 306.
Horn Book, March-April, 2002, Nell D. Beram, review of Frida, p. 233; March-April, 2006, Anita L. Burkam, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 170.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2001, review of Frida, p. 1691; January 15, 2004, review of Elena's Serenade, p. 82; October 15, 2004, review of The Night Eater, p. 1008; December 1, 2005, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 1273.
New York Times Book Review, May 19, 2002, Martha Davis Beck, "They're Somebody! Who Are You?," review of Frida.
Publishers Weekly, December 10, 2001, review of Frida, p. 69; January 26, 2004, review of Elena's Serenade, p. 253; November 22, 2004, review of The Night Eater, p. 60; January 2, 2006, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 61.
School Library Journal, March, 2002, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Frida, p. 224; March, 2004, Tracy Bell, review of Elena's Serenade, p. 158; January, 2005, Robin L. Gibson, review of The Night Eater, p. 94; January, 2006, Mary N. Oluonye, review of For You Are a Kenyan Child, p. 94.
Ana Juan Home Page,http://www.anajuan.net (May 10, 2007).
Scholastic Web site,http://content.scholastic.com/ (May 10, 2007), "Ana Juan."
SCBWI France Web site,http://www.kidbookpros.com/ (May, 2003), Ann Jacobus, "Meet the Pros: Ana Juan."