"A young artist and her art live on in this tender, heartfelt book. We must remember."—Kirkus Reviews
"Lemay has integrated Alithia's own artwork into the book's illustrations in very powerful ways... on the last few pages, we see Alithia's art exploding into shards, and other people hold her drawings on the book's final page 'When an artist dies, her art lives on in our hearts and minds.'"—School Library Journal
"Alithia Ramirez Was an Artist reminds us why art is so powerful—and healing.—Parents Magazine
“Alithia Ramirez Was an Artist captures the kind-hearted, vivacious spirit of our daughter, Alithia. Lemay compassionately celebrates the special way in which children like Alithia view our world as something full of love and color. With her own artwork featured throughout the book, Alithia’s talent will continue inspiring others to embrace the joy and healing that creation can bring.” —Alithia’s Parents, Jess Hernandez and Ryan Ramirez
“It is with great pride and pleasure that I add my voice today to the launching of a book that embodies the light through the cracks in social injustice. Alithia Ramirez will paint the possibility of life without guns in schools in the heart of all readers. Uvalde will never be forgotten.” —F. Isabel Campoy, Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, Award-Winning Author of Maybe Something Beautiful
“In the book Alithia Ramirez Was an Artist, we see how much Alithia loved making art. She was always surrounded by art supplies and drawing things she saw and also things she imagined—colorful renderings of the world. Of course, like all artists, Alithia was not a stranger to frustration; sometimes her art looked different from what she saw! But even then, she would not stop creating. When Alithia Ramirez’s life was tragically taken, it is her unstoppable art that finds its way into our hearts. In this book, we can hear Alithia’s voice of love calling for us to be just as determined as she is at creating the work of art that we can all create together: a world full of color, joy, and peace, where children can be safe to dream the life they deserve. Viva Alithia!” —Yuyi Morales, Pura Belpre Medalist and Caldecott Honoree
“A tender and moving way for Alithia Ramirez to live on in our hearts and inspire young artists to create the world they want to see.” —Juliet Menéndez, Author of Latinas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers
PreS-Gr 3—A heartbreaking and beautiful memoir about Alithia Ramirez, a gifted and resilient artist with dreams, who died in the Uvalde, TX, school tragedy. Focusing on her life and artistry, Ramirez's story shows how her creativity and imagination started as a toddler. She used different types of media, suffered the pangs of others wrecking her art supplies, taught art to kids, and used her life for inspiration. Ramirez experienced frustration but pushed through it and hoped to study art in Paris. Lemay shares how "Ramirez wasn't a camera," but an artist, for "her voice was in her heart and in her hands." Lemay indicates Ramirez's death indirectly, by sharing how a person lives on through their art, an idea that connects lovingly to the artist. A descriptive author's note and art citations details how, with parental permission, Ramirez's artwork is digitally incorporated throughout. On a spread that shows Ramirez drawing when she's happy and sad, it's Ramirez's original art on each canvas. Lemay's mixed media art features bold colors and clean lines that seamlessly incorporate the subject's artistic style in a true tribute. Characters are racially diverse. Additional back matter includes a "Let's Talk" section with discussion questions around art and managing frustration, hopes, and dreams. VERDICT A powerful story of how one person makes an impact, even when interrupted by violence; this title is recommended for all.—Rachel Zuffa
A heartbreaking tribute to a gifted young artist killed in the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre.
Even when she was a baby, Alithia Ramirez adored making art, and as she got older, she used various media to create colorful drawings. Making art was sometimes hard for Alithia: She couldn’t always re-create exactly what she saw, but she kept going, as artists do, drawing everyone she saw around her, including herself, and she drew no matter her mood. She dreamed of studying art in Paris when she grew up. She drew the world as she wished it was—full of color, love, peace, and hope. Lemay states that though an artist may die, her art will live on. A poignant author’s note informs readers that Alithia was one of the victims of the May 24, 2022, school shooting in Uvalde. Written with her parents’ support, the simple, upbeat text gives readers a good idea of the child and artist Alithia Ramirez was. Her smiling photograph appears in the backmatter, among examples of her artwork, which are also interspersed throughout the book. The author’s note further explains that Lemay went to great pains to re-create Alithia’s drawn self-portrait, her family portrait, and her horse and chicken drawings. All the other artwork is Alithia’s, reproduced with parental permission and digitally scanned into the illustrator’s own art. Alithia and her family are Latine; background characters are racially diverse.
A young artist and her art live on in this tender, heartfelt book. We must remember. (discussion questions) (Picture book. 4-8)