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Cathie Bleck
Hurricane Dancers
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I created "Hurricane Dancers": The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck" book cover back in 2011. I was so excited to hear from the author,    (she reached out to me on Facebook-this is a great day and age when an artist can easily connect with authors).  Apparently, her book has won many awards and I am so pleased to hear this especially in June-National Cuban American month.  Honors include the 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor, ALSC 2012 Notable Children's Book for older readers, ALA Best Books for Young Adults nominee, Poetry for Children Blog's Top 20 Most Distinctive Books of Poetry 2011 and 2012 White Ravens List.
It is a novel in verse and I loved the manuscript!  The award winning author tells the story of Quebrado, a boy who has been traded from pirate ship to ship in the Caribbean Sea for as long as he can remember. The sailors he toils under call him el quebrado—half islander, half outsider, a broken one. The pirate captain Bernardino de Talavera uses Quebrado as a translator to help navigate the worlds and words between his mother’s Taíno Indian language and his father’s Spanish. When a hurricane sinks the ship and most of its crew, it is Quebrado who escapes to safety. He learns how to live on land again, among people who treat him well. And it is he who must decide the fate of his former captors.
I worked with the talented art director Rich Deas but the book jacket also names Elizabeth Tardiff as one of the designers.  He was so great to work with and I especially loved his idea of running the texture behind my art for a historic look. Here is the sketch. His direction was very consice so I only did one sketch and he utilized the art for a wrap around.

The publisher Reka Simonson was so kind and sent me a first edition copy signed by the author Margarita Engle, a Cuban American poet, novelist and journalist.


The inside has a wonderful continuity to the cover though I did not illustrate this. A wonderful read and I would highly suggest this book for the young reader.


It is always an especially rewarding project when varnish is the final touch!! Thanks to Rich Deas for a wonderful project and to my former art rep Jen Vaughn.



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