Cover design for Islandborn by Leo Espinosa
Jul 07, 2018 - Feb 17, 2019
Duvoisin Gallery

This exhibition celebrates Islandborn, the debut children’s book written by acclaimed author and Rutgers alumnus Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa (published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House). Díaz’s captivating tale of a little girl, Lola, is a powerful ode to diversity that explores the importance of storytelling and champions the possibilities of imagination. The story begins when Lola’s teacher asks her students to draw pictures of the countries they are originally from. Lola can’t remember the Island, which she left as a baby, and she sets out to ask her friends and family to share their memories. As she hears their stories of joy, courage, and heartbreak, she goes on an imaginative journey back to the Island and learns the importance of sharing our connections to the past and to each other. Espinosa vividly brings Lola’s world, from the city to the tropics, to life in his joyful, vintage-style illustrations. These illustrations, along with a selection of Espinosa’s preparatory drawings, will be on view to demonstrate his craft and introduce young audiences to the art of book illustration.

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Junot Díaz graduated from Rutgers University in 1992. He is the author of the critically acclaimed DrownThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. Díaz is currently the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Leo Espinosa is an award-winning illustrator and designer from Bogotá, Colombia, whose work has been featured in a variety of publications, including The New YorkerWiredEsquireThe New York Times, and The Atlantic. His illustrations have been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Pictoplasma, 3x3, and the Society of Illustrators. He has taught at Rhode Island School of Design and has given lectures and workshops at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and The Leonardo Museum of Science and Art, among others. Espinosa lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This exhibition is organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings. 

This exhibition is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Leo Espinosa, cover design for Islandborn, written by Junot Díaz. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2018.)