Raúl Gonzalez, illustrator of “Lowriders to the Center of the Earth,” is the 2017 winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award and Author Award, honoring Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books.
“Lowriders to the Center of the Earth” follows Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack and Elirio Malaria, as they lowride into an epic quest to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the Underworld. The ballpoint pen art creates a fantastical borderlands odyssey, packed with subversively playful cultural references that affirm a vibrant Chicanx cultura.
The book was written by Cathy Camper and published by Chronicle Books LLC.
“Raúl Gonzalez’s energetic ballpoint pen drawings portray a complex mash-up of cultures with humor and verve,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Eva Mitnick.
Growing up in the border town of El Paso, Texas, Raúl Gonzalez (Raúl the Third) spent hours copying comic images onto paper scraps with his dad’s BIC pens. Today, he exhibits his artwork in museums and galleries across the U.S. and teaches classes on drawing to kids.