Duncan Tonatiuh receives a 2018 Americas Award from the Library of Congress

Duncan Tonatiuh (born in Mexico City, Mexico) is a Mexican-American author and illustrator of several award-winning children’s books. The illustrations in his books are influenced by Pre-Columbian art. The themes in his stories relate to the Latino experience, with subjects that include social justice issues, art, history, and immigration. He is an advocate and activist for workers’ rights.[1]

Early lifeEdit

He was born to an American father and a Mexican mother and was raised in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.[1] He moved to the United States as a teenager and completed high school at Buxton School in Massachusetts.[2] As a child, he was inspired by comics and anime to write and illustrate his own superhero stories.[3] In high school, he became interested in painting, finding inspiration in the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Egon Schiele.[3]


In 2008, Tonatiuh received his B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and a B.A. from Eugene Lang College.[4] While in college, he became interested in Mixtec artwork, specifically Mixtec codex.[5] His senior thesis, Journey of a Mixteco, won best thesis and was published online.[6] Immediately after graduating, he was contracted by Abrams Books for Young Children, publishing his first book Dear Primo in 2010. He divides his time between Mexico and the U.S., visiting schools, libraries, and bookstores. He is a workers’ rights activist.



Illustrator and AuthorEdit

Dear Primo: A Letter To My Cousin, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2010.

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2011.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2013.

Separate is never equal: Sylvia Méndez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2014.

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2015.

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes, Abrams Books for Young Readers (New York, N.Y.) 2016.


Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem written by Jorge Argueta, Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press (Toronto, ON) 2015.

Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist written by Susan Wood, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA) 2016.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b "Duncan Tonatiuh". In L. Kumar (Ed.), Something About the Author. 231 (pp. 180-181). 2012.
  2. ^ "Duncan Tonatiuh Smith-Hernandez '03". Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  3. ^ a b "Five questions for Duncan Tonatiuh — The Horn Book". www.hbook.com. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  4. ^ "Profile-Detail | Parsons". www.newschool.edu. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  5. ^ "Duncan Tonatiuh Wants Latino Children to See Themselves in Books - NBC News". Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  6. ^ "Degree & Profession | Journey of a Mixteco | Duncan Smith". www.florence-expo.com. Retrieved 2016-09-20.