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Lopez, Loretta 1963–

Lopez, Loretta 1963–

Personal

Born December, 1963, in El Paso, TX. Education: Pratt Institute, B.F.A., 1986.

Addresses

Home and office—NJ; NY; TX. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Illustrator. Worked variously as a sales assistant, waitress, gallery assistant, model maker, commercial artist, and art instructor; freelance writer and illustrator, beginning 1994.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Birthday Swap, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Author's work has been translated into Spanish.

ILLUSTRATOR

Susan Middleton Elya, Say Hola to Spanish, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Susan Middleton Elya, Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again!), Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Alma Flor Ida and F. Isabel Campoy, Chicken Pedro and the Falling Sky, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Anne Philips, The Fisherman and the Fish, Addison-Wesley, 1999.

Clarita Kohen, Pipo el Puma, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Susan Middleton Elya, Say Hola to Spanish at the Circus, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2000.

D.H. Figueredo, Cleaning Day, Bebop Books, 2001.

Leslea Newman, A Day at the Fair, Bebop Books, 2002.

Virginia L. Kroll, Uno, dos, tres, posada: Let's Celebrate Christmas, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.

Janice Levy, I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2007.

Janice Levy, Celebrate! It's Cinco de Mayo!, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2007.

Sidelights

Artist and author Loretta Lopez was inspired to write books for young readers while remembering her own childhood, when books that depicted Mexican-American culture were rare indeed. In addition to creating artwork for bilingual picture books by other writers, in 1997 Lopez created the self-illustrated picture book The Birthday Swap as a way of sharing her family's cultural traditions.

In The Birthday Swap Lopez captures the excitement children feel in celebrating their special day. In her story, five-year-old Lori will not be six until December, but December is months and months away. Fortunately, her older sister, Cookie, decides to swap birthdays with Lori, allowing the younger girl to have an outdoor birthday party in August, complete with a piñatas, tables of food, and a large fiesta with lots of dancing. In her text, Lopez mixes Spanish and English in capturing the affection between the sisters and their close-knit family, and her colored-pencil and gouache artwork draws on her Mexican-American traditions. In Booklist, Hazel Rochman commended Lopez's picture-book debut for its "bright, cheerful pictures and … wonderful surprise ending," adding that the colorful illustrations "are filled with celebration."

In addition to illustrating her own text, Lopez has also created artwork for other writers. Her work for Virginia Kroll's Spanish-language holiday-themed counting book, Uno, dos, tres, posada!: Let's Celebrate Christmas, were described by a Kirkus Reviews contributor as "simple but appealing illustrations in bright, citrus shades," while the "brightly colored" art Lopez contributes to Janice Levy's bilingual Celebrate! It's Cinco de Mayo! is authentic and augments "the festive air of the narrative," according to School Library Journal reviewer Susan E. Murray. Collaborating with author Susan Middleton Elya on Say Hola to Spanish, Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again!), and Say Hola to Spanish at the Circus, Lopez's work inspired Booklist critic Gillian Engberg to note of the last-named title that the book's "circus theme and hypercolored, animated illustrations will keep kids moving through the bouncy language lesson." "Lopez provides images bound to aid early elementary students' retention and recall of the … Spanish words" introduced in Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again!), in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly writer.

As Lopez noted on her home page, "The Birthday Swap "gave me the opportunity to share a family story and tradition. My family was ecstatic about the book. In fact, my uncle, the real Tio Daniel who hosted the actual party in the book, got all teary-eyed when he saw it. It was wonderful to share the memory at our last family reunion, in July [1997]. It was especially great because there was a big party in honor of Tio Daniel's birthday, and it was the same kind of party as in the book: the whole extended family, mariachis, etc. Sharing The Birthday Swap with them helped bring us closer together and that made me really happy."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 1996, Annie Ayres, review of Say Hola to Spanish, p. 1509; May 1, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of The Birthday Swap, p. 1501; July, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Say Hola to Spanish at the Circus, p. 2036; January 1, 2001, Isabel Schon, review of Say Hola to Spanish at the Circus, p. 972.

Instructor, October, 2001, Alice Quiocho, review of The Birthday Swap, p. 16.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Uno, dos, tres, posada!: Let's Celebrate Christmas, p. 1130; January 15, 2007, review of Celebrate! It's Cinco de Mayo!, p. 75.

Publishers Weekly, October 27, 1997, review of Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again!), p. 75.

School Library Journal, July, 2000, Sally Bates Goodroe, review of Say Hola to Spanish at the Circus, p. 93; October, 2006, Virginia Walter, review of Uno, dos, tres, posada!, p. 97; July, 2007, Susan E. Murray, review of Celebrate!, p. 93.

ONLINE

Lee & Low Books Web site,http://leeandlow.com/ (May 23, 2008), "Loretta Lopez."

Loretta Lopez Home Page,http://lorettalopez.com (May 23, 2008).

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