Cátia Chien’s Picture Book Life + giveaway

Today it’s illustrator Cátia Chien‘s picture book life here on This Picture Book Life!

When I think of Cátia Chien’s art, I think of textures: fuzzy, confetti-ed, rich, circled, splattered, splashed.

When I think of her art, I also think of these words: dreamy, vivid, beautiful.

Each page of a picture book Cátia Chien has illustrated is a discovery, each one varied in vibrant color and shape and experimentation and emotion. Stick around to see!

 

 

 

 

The above PBS video featuring Cátia Chien is extraordinary. I remember the impact it had on me a couple of years ago when it first came out. In it, she is honest about her childhood, her life, her experience as an immigrant and feeling like an outsider. She is honest about her process of being an artist and how making art is an act of empathy for her, and for the children she teaches.

“The feeling of actually belonging, it’s self-created. Arriving at the process of creating something from the inside out, it’s really just a validation of existing. It matters that we add to the conversation so that it’s not just one voice that’s being told in picture books.”

—Cátia Chien

She has art and prints for sale at Gallery Nucleus here in Los Angeles.

Now for her picture books, starting with the newest one, forthcoming The Bear and the Moon (out September 29th from Chronicle Books and our giveaway book) as well as some special process photos of The Bear and the Moon Cátia Chien provided for us!

 

 

 

The Bear and the Moon written by Matthew Burgess (September 29, 2020).

This is a story of surprise. Of companionship. Of loss. And the art is fuzzy, rich, dreamy and beautiful.

 

(click image(s) to enlarge)

Balloons are magic for children, and red ones have a literary and film history. And it turns out they’re magic for bears, too. This bear who is alone but curious and up for an adventure.

 

The red balloon the bear finds becomes not only a novel and wonderful mystery, but a friend. The bear shows the balloon all its haunts and habits, the way you’d tour a friend around too. The balloon is not only real, but feels animate. It’s a thing, yes, but a “wonderful thing! A squishable, huggable thing!”

Just look at those shapes and blended, muted pastel colors!

 

And here, the technicolor blue, the pops of white stars and constellations, the dreaminess of this evening scene as the bear and balloon sit together.

We all know what happens to balloons though. They don’t last forever. Nothing does, really.

The bear makes a mistake. Mistakes, like things not lasting, are something else universal. We all know what that’s like. The regret that follows. The blame. The despair and the wish that it wouldn’t have happened. That we hadn’t done it. That is the hard part.

I won’t give away the details of the ending of this beautiful, tender, reassuring book, but I will tell you that it’s hopeful. Because like anyone who’s made a mistake or experienced loss, the bear finds encouragement. The bear looks to nature. The bear accepts themself.

And like a red balloon and a full moon, the bear’s memories go around and around and around in an enveloping circle of comfort.

 

All the colors come together here, an emanating rainbow of everything will be okay.

 

 

The Town of Turtle written by Michelle Cuevas (2018).

A lonely turtle has a dream and then builds it, builds a whole town, and by doing so builds a whole community. The text of this book couldn’t be more perfectly paired with Cátia Chien’s absolutely fanciful pencil, acrylic, and paper collage illustrations. The turtle’s shell and then town feel like a planet and there are galaxy elements throughout—stars and dark black space and elemental shapes. The book is a dream that mirror’s turtle’s told-of dream.

 


Things to Do written by Elaine Magliaro (2017).

A compilation of poems that explore things to do according to your perspective and place—a celebration of moments and nature and soaking up every small experience.

 

The Sea Serpent and Me written by Dashka Slater (2008).

This one is sweet-sweet-sweet and mirrors what it’s like to find, to love, and to, when the time comes, let go.

 

A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz (2014).

This is the autobiography of Alan Rabinowitz, wildlife conservationist, who found that his ability to speak with animals was his special gift.

 


My Blue is Happy written by Jessica Young (2013).

An exploration of color and feelings and the way two interplay.

 

Big thanks to Cátia Chien and to Chronicle Books for images of The Bear and the Moon!

 

 

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Thanks to Chronicle Kids, I’m giving away a copy of the latest picture book Cátia Chien’s illustrated, The Bear and the Moon, words by Matthew Burgess—out September 29th, 2020!

Simply comment below for a chance to win! (U.S. only; ends Friday, September 4th at midnight Pacific.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 Responses to Cátia Chien’s Picture Book Life + giveaway

  1. Love your illustrations! Congrats on all your beautiful books!

  2. Corinna says:

    Ohhhh I love Catia’s art SOO much. And her latest looks absolutely breathtaking.

  3. My Blue Is Happy is one of my favorites!

  4. Cátia’s work is stunning. I’m familiar with The Town of Turtle as Michelle Cuevas is one of my favorite authors across genres. But I haven’t seen these others. And the new one with Chronicle looks fantastic. Definitely art that explores connection, something we need right now. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This book would be great for my twins, they love bears!

  6. Aryeh Snyder says:

    My niece and nephew would love this!

  7. David Jacob Snyder says:

    This book would be great for my twin grandchildren as they love bears

  8. Gabi Snyder says:

    Beautiful! I love Cátia’s use of textures and colors! I can’t wait to read THE BEAR AND THE MOON!

  9. Isabel Z says:

    Thank you for showcasing such beautiful art.

  10. David McMullin says:

    So much beauty here!

  11. Sherry Snyder says:

    I’d love to read this

  12. Sarah Mast says:

    Such beautiful illustrations! Thank you for the opportunity. 🙂

  13. Jenna says:

    My daughters will love this book!

  14. Thanks for sharing such awesome picture books! The illustrations are so lovely and inviting. Keep creating!

  15. Catia’s art is so astonishing to me. Thank you for this beautiful post about this beautiful book!

  16. Chris Go says:

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  17. Chris Go says:

    That bear is darling!

  18. Chris Go says:

    What a darling bear!

  19. rebecca says:

    Oh wow!!! I’m what a clever book!! I need to check out The Town of Turtle too!!

  20. Tina Hoggatt says:

    Thank you for celebrating Catia’s deep and masterful work. it’s such a pleasure to see her work in such abundance here, and to celebrate the new book – which is BEAUTIFUL.

  21. Tina Hoggatt says:

    It is such a pleasure to see Catia Chien’s deep and masterful work celebrated and to see the work in such abundance. The new book is so beautiful. Thank you!

  22. Isabel Roxas says:

    Big, big fan of these two creators AND this blog!! 🙂

  23. So looking forward to seeing Catia Chen’s beautiful Bear and Balloon to watch how she explores loss, and the acceptance of loss in the natural world!

  24. Laura Harrison says:

    So absolutely gifted! Beautiful, beautiful work.

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