Southwest Children's Literature

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The Magic Hummingbird

This is a photograph of Michael Lacapa.

Illustrator interview with Michael Lacapa:

When did you decide that you wanted to become a children's book writer?
I was a teacher and saw that there was a lack of literature about Indian people, and I knew we weren't like the people in the stories.

What inspires your stories and illustrations?
I look at things that are affecting myself and my children and community and I address an issue or a situation. The Hopi illustrations come out of their pottery, the Apache out of their basketry, and in Less Than Half More Than Whole the illustrations came from everywhere.

What medium do you use to create the illustrations?
At first I used watercolor, but now I use watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink and a toothbrush.

What size are your original illustrations?
My illustrations are 32 inches X 15-17 inches and 22 inches X 15-17 inches.

How long does it take to paint the illustrations for a story?
The first book it took two years to complete the illustrations. For The Magic Hummingbird, it took three months to complete the illustrations.

What happens to the original illustrations?
There is a gallery showing of the paintings and then my wife and I select our favorite few and the rest are sold.

This interview was conducted in the fall of 1999.

Note: Sadly, Michael Lacapa passed away in 2005. We are thankful for the legacy he has left us in his beautiful artwork and sensitive stories.

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