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John Parra Artist Portrait

John Parra is an award winning illustrator, fine artist, designer, and educator, best known for his art illustrated, Latino themed, children’s books such as Waiting for the Biblioburro, Green is a Chile Pepper, and Gracias/Thanks. For his books he has received many awards and honors including: The American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Honors, The Christopher’s Award, and the Golden Kite Award from The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Parra’s original artwork has also been showcased and displayed in numerous gallery shows and museum exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Many of his fine art paintings now reside with private collectors. He has taught art at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California and regularly speaks as a visiting artist at primary schools, college universities, and literary conferences across the country advocating art and reading education.
John’s artistic path began growing up in Santa Barbara, California. He spent his days exploring and drawing landscapes, wildlife, creatures, robots, cities, & family. His Hispanic roots and heritage provided a rich cultural palette of inspiring imagery and customs. Mexican murals, surrealism, folk/outsider art, regional cuisine, music & dance costumes are all visual influences seen in his work. John went on to graduate from the prestigious Art Center College of Design.
Now living in Queens NY, with his wife Maria, John continues working in his studio, passionately creating art through his imagination and diligence. He received his second Golden Kite Award from SCBWI for his children’s book, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans. In 2015 he was invited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to present a special event and workshop about his art and illustration. His children’s book, Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, was one of the winners of the NYTimes/NYPL: Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017, and John’s work can be seen at the U.S. Post Offices on six Forever Stamps titled: Delicioso, with art images celebrating Latino food cuisine. His recent released picture books are, Hey Wall: A Story of Art & Community, and One is a Pinata: A Book of Numbers.
Clients include: United Airlines, The United States Postal Service, Hitachi Data Systems, Jeep/Chrysler, National Geographic, PBS, El Museo del Barrio, Boston Children’s Hospital, Chronicle Books, Penguin/Random House, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, North/South Books, Simon & Schuster, Lee & Low Books, SCBWI, Santa Clara Magazine, Virgin Records and more. *My Photo Album