Spotlight

[Featured Illustrators] Alix Delinois





In 2010, Scholastic published Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, Alix Delinois' second illustrated children's book. Written by National Book Award nominee Edwidge Danticat in an attempt to explain the 2010 Haiti earthquake to her 5-year-old daughter, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti was hailed as "a brilliantly crafted story of hope and imagination" and "a powerful tribute to Haiti and children around the world." It was featured widely in the press, including by NPR and The Huffington Post.

In the story, a young boy, Junior, is trapped for 8 days beneath his collapsed house after an earthquake. He uses his imagination for comfort, drawing on beautiful, everyday-life memories of his life in Haiti, until he is finally rescued. Love and warmth dance across each page; the illustrations depict the tenderness and strength of Junior's love for his family and vice versa, as well as a young boy's deep love for an island so often depicted in a negative light.

Greetings, Leroy, Delinois' most recent illustrated picture storybook, was published by Groundwood Books in May 2017. Written by Barbadian-Canadian children's author and bookstore owner Itah Sadu, the book features a young protagonist, Roy, who has just moved to Canada from Jamaica and is struggling to adjust to life in a strange, new country. The story follows Roy through his first, nerve-wracking day at school, and by the end of the day, Roy realizes he may come to love his new home as much as he loves his old home in Jamaica. Whether it is love for one's country of origin, the classroom as a loving community where everyone is made to feel welcome, or the parents love for Leroy, both text and illustrations reveal the importance of love in supporting a child through the challenging experience of immigration.

Delinois’ work displays a dynamic color palette and bold compositions to express human emotions and experience, including love. Believing less is more, Delinois employs strong compositions and designs that enable the viewer to experience art without the clutter found in everyday life. His work is mostly done using mixed media consisting of collage, acrylic and crayons. Delinois commented:

Junior and Christine playing in the rain from Eight Days was inspired by Ms. Danticat’s words and my own experiences in Haiti playing in the rain as child. "A kiss for Manman" depicts the tender, intimate connection between Junior and his mother. The picture where Junior is reunited with his parents was an emotional piece to work on. After the tragic earthquake that took the lives of so many loved ones, it was very empowering to depict the moment that Junior emerged from under the rubble after eight days of being buried alone. "Leroy and the baby" depicts the joy of Leroy finding the Bob Marley button he lost during his first day of school in a new country. The joy of finding the button represents the joy of his connection to his home country, Jamaica.
A kiss for Manman

Junior is reunited with his parents

Leroy and the baby

Junior and Christine dancing in the rain


Delinois on what Caribbean children's illustration means to him:

I believe Caribbean children’s illustrations depict the beauty and culture of life in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a diverse place with influences from Africa and all over the world. The styles and colors of Caribbean children’s illustration represent universal themes of love and family.


Biography

Alix Delinois moved from Saint Marc, Haiti to Harlem, New York with his family at the age of seven. He knew he wanted to be an artist when he read Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe in fourth grade. He attended Art and Design High School in New York City and continued his studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute where he earned a B.F.A. in Illustration. He earned a Masters in Art Education at Brooklyn College. In addition to his career as a children's book illustrator, he teaches art to middle school students in Harlem, where he first started to pursue his own passion for the arts. His first children’s book was Muhammad Ali written by Walter Dean Myers. Since then, he has published three more picture books: Eight Days A Story of Haiti written by Edwidge Danticat, Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence written by Gretchen Woelfle, and Greetings, Leroy written by Itah Sadu.

View more of Alix's work here:

alixdelinois.com




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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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