Artist Profile


JP Portrait

John Parra is an award-winning illustrator, best known for his art illustrated, Latino themed, children’s books. For his work 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 also has been showcased and displayed in numerous gallery shows and museum exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad with many paintings now residing in private collections. He has taught art at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, CA and regularly speaks as a visiting artist at schools 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. His Hispanic roots and heritage provided a rich cultural palette of inspiring imagery and customs. Mexican murals, surrealism, outsider folk art, regional cuisine, music & dance costumes are all visual influences seen in his work. John perused art graduating from the prestigious Art Center College of Design.

Now based in Queens NY, with his wife Maria, John continues working in his studio, passionately creating. He received his second Golden Kite Award from SCBWI for the picture 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 career in art and illustration. His artwork in the book, Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, was selected as one of the New York Times/NY Public Library’s: Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017. John’s designs can be seen at the U.S. Post Office on six Forever Stamps titled: Delicioso, with illustrated images celebrating Latino food cuisine. His recent released picture books are: Hey Wall: A Story of Art & Community and One is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers. His upcoming book, Little Libraries, Big Heroes will be out this Fall.

Clients include: The United States Postal Service, United Airlines, Hitachi Data Systems, Jeep/Chrysler, National Geographic, PBS, SCBWI, El Museo del Barrio, Boston Children’s Hospital, Penguin/Random House, Simon & Schuster, Chronicle Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, North/South Books, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Lee & Low Books, Santa Clara Magazine, Mpls St. Paul Magazine, L.A. Weekly, Songline/Tone Field Productions, Virgin Records, and more.