She Was the First!
Ruth Objects
Strong Voices: 15 American Speeches
Octopus Stew
Schomburg cover
New Shoes cover
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"Velasquez’s vibrant watercolor illustrations capture Chisholm’s determination and passion for improving life for Americans with the fewest advantages."

-Horn Book

"Velasquez's watercolor illustrations give a good sense of Depression-era Brooklyn and Barbados as well as emphasizing Chisholm's closeness to her family."


"Velasquez’s watercolor illustrations are full of life, using texture and light to capture vivid and varied scenery, personalities, and emotion."

-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Russell-Brown, with the help of Velasquez’s expressive watercolor art, vividly brings Chisholm’s experiences to life with storytelling that will appeal to a wide variety of ages—those both aware and unaware of her legacy."

-School Library Journal

"[A] very handsome addition to the growing collection of RBG literature for young readers."

-Publishers Weekly (Ruth Objects)

"A welcome addition to any library’s picture book biography collection."

-School Library Journal (Ruth Objects)

"Velasquez’s paintings ably mix personal moments and monumental poses. . . ."

-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (Ruth Objects)

"Velasquez’s arresting jacket portrait of Ginsburg, superimposed on a facsimile of the U.S. Constitution, conveys a woman of purpose. . . ."

-Booklist Online (Ruth Objects)

"Per series formula, there is no title on the front cover—just Velasquez's oil portrait depicting her intensity and serious demeanor. Interior illustrations focus on Ruth in every phase of her life and perfectly match the text."

-Kirkus Reviews (Ruth Objects)

"Velasquez’s striking paintings may fill the whole space or be divided into panels depicting a series of events."

-Booklist (Ruth Objects)

"Eric Velasquez's dramatic illustrations allow readers to even further connect with the era being portrayed, leading to a meaningful framework that will help readers understand the speeches' importance."

-Booklist (Starred Review) (Strong Voices)

"An important addition to American history collections."

-School Library Journal (Strong Voices)


Illustrator Eric Velasquez was born in Spanish Harlem and he grew up in Harlem.  Eric graduated from the High School of Art and Design and earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, he also completed a year of studies with Harvey Dinnerstein at the Art Student’s League.


Eric has been illustrating for 30 years.

He has illustrated numerous book jackets and interior illustrations including Beverly Naidoo’s award winning “ Journey to Jo’Burg”.


Eric’s first picture book “The Piano Man” by Debbie Chocolate, published by Walker & Co. won the Coretta-Scott King/John Steptoe award for new talent. He has since illustrated many Children’s books including “The Sound that Jazz Makes” by Carole Boston Weatherford, which was awarded the CBC-NCSS Carter G. Woodson award in the field of Social Studies. Eric was recently awarded an NAACP Image award for his work in “Our Children Can Soar” which he collaborated on with 12 notable illustrators of children’s literature. His two latest books “The Price of Freedom” By Dennis and Judy Fradin and “Clip, Clop: A Ghost Story” By Patricia Mckissack have gathered rave reviews.

 Eric also wrote and illustrated “Grandma’s Records” and its follow up “Grandma’s Gift” which won the 2011 Pura Belpre’ Award for illustration and was also nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award.


Eric Velasquez lives and works in New York. He teaches book illustration at FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. 


See Eric's articleDiversity and Engaging the Reluctant Reader, featured on! 


New Shoes depicts Ella Mae, who after being dismayed and humiliated by a common shoe store practice of the 1950’s that forced African Americans to trace their feet rather than try on shoes for size, hits upon an alternative that offers dignity and respect.  She and her cousin, Charlotte, after collecting used shoes, polishing them, then scrubbing or replacing their laces, open a shoe store for the black community where finally everyone is allowed “to try on all the shoes they want.”


Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March is the thrilling and moving account of Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s experiences as the youngest member of the Selma to Montgomery March, one of the iconic moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Using many of Lowery’s own words and written in an extremely accessible style, the narrative makes clear the courage it took to march repeatedly, especially given the lingering effects of violence protesters suffered. These narrative details underscore the triumph of the marchers and their mission.

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Winner in the Books for Younger Readers Category (New Shoes)


Winner of the 2016 Jane Addams Peace Prize (New Shoes)


"Schomburg’s ambitions, scholarship, and accomplishments were tremendous . . . and Weatherford and Velasquez more than do justice to them."

-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Schomburg)

"This excellent work of history illuminates Schomburg and his legendary collection for a new generation."

-School Library Journal (Starred Review) (Schomburg) 

"The remarkable life and achievements of the Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, collector and curator Arturo Schomburg have ideal chroniclers in Weatherford (Freedom in Congo Square) and Velasquez (Grandma’s Gift)."

-The New York Times (Schomburg)


"Two African-American scholars have written a poetic biography of Arturo Schomburg, the immigrant who created a library in Harlem to prevent the disappearance of African voices from history."

-Shelf Awareness (Starred Review) (Schomburg)

"A must-read for a deeper understanding of a well-connected genius who enriched the cultural road map for African-Americans and books about them."

-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)  (Schomburg)

"Velasquez’s portraits of these talents are consistently heroic, while pictures of Schomburg himself . . . are warm and full of pride."

-Booklist (Starred Review) (Schomburg)

"Picking up Schomburg's torch almost a century later, Weatherford and Velasquez are continuing to ensure that African history isn't lost."

-Shelf Awareness (Schomburg)

"A wide-ranging collection of speeches and a worthwhile resource for students of American history."

-Booklist (Starred Review) (Strong Voices)

"A golden celebration of the multicultural voices who demand that the U.S.—and the world—do better."

-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) (Strong Voices)

"A hilarious read-aloud that could be read during storytime."

-School Library Journal (Starred Review) (Octopus Stew)

"Sometimes calling to mind old-time photographs, Velasquez's pleasingly grainy pastels easily convey the movement and speed, determination and triumph at the core of Owens's uplifting story."

-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Jesse Owens: Fastest Man Alive)


"Using pastels on rough paper, Velasquez mixes scenes of the muscular Owens in action with vignettes of other significant moments, aptly capturing the drama and excitement of the occasion."

-Kirkus Reviews (Jesse Owens: Fastest Man Alive)

"With love and humanity, Velasquez once again affirms young Black Latinx boys' identities and family experiences."

-Horn Book (Starred Review) (Octopus Stew)

"Realistic oil paintings bring to life the action and excitement of encountering a giant octopus."

-Booklist (Octopus Stew)

"Oil paintings . . . have a lush, generously sculptural feel—a heightened comic realism that’s perfect for this domestic tall tale, its multi-armed nemesis, and the wonderful gatefold twist that occurs at the action’s height."

-Publishers Weekly (Octopus Stew)

"A delightful modern tall tale sure to entertain and inspire readers to share (and embroider) their own stories."

-Kirkus Reviews (Octopus Stew)

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