UPDATE: Our copy right agreement with Candlewick Press for the use of Tania's spectacular artwork has expired. Even though we had to pull the lovely drawings, Tania's content is still applicable and her book is a must for every elementary school classroom. Please browse her portfolio at taniaderegil.com/, buy A NEW HOME and preorder SOMETHING ABOUT GRANDMA, launching August 2022 here.
~ Guest post by illustrator Tania de Regil
My name is Tania. I’m from Mexico and I’m the author of A NEW HOME (UN NUEVO HOGAR in the Spanish edition)(2019; Candlewick Press), which shows the story of a boy moving from New York to Mexico City and, at the same time, a girl moving from Mexico City to New York. In a combined voice they share their fears about leaving their home, but because we see their story side by side, we realize how they are more alike than different and that home can be found wherever life leads. This story is very personal and it was inspired by a series of things that happened to me while growing up.
When I was 5 years old, just around the same age as the boy and the girl from A NEW HOME, my mom and dad had some big news for my brother and me. My dad had been accepted to a prestigious medical school in Stockholm, Sweden! This, of course, meant we had to move. Truthfully, I was scared, I had never even heard about this place before, and I didn’t fully understand what moving really implied. All I knew was that I would be leaving everyone and everything I loved behind, and that I was going to miss my home very much. Nevertheless, we left soon after that, but something happened that I wasn’t expecting at all. I loved it! I quickly fell in love with Sweden, with the people, the food, and everything about it really, and in no time, I felt right at home. I had the opportunity to experience incredible new things that wouldn't have happened if I’d never moved to a different country. We lived there for three years and then we moved back to Mexico City, but I still cherish those years I called Sweden my home.
When I graduated from high school, I really wanted to study art or design. I knew I wanted to have that experience of living in a different country again, so I applied to different schools across the United States. And this time, I got accepted to an incredible design school in New York City! I was thrilled! When I arrived, I fell in love with the city: its sparkling energy, its incredibly diverse people, and how there was something new to discover every single day.
From these experiences of moving around, I realized that no matter where I found myself, I could make that place my home. I learned so much from living in different countries and I am so grateful for that. It really opened my eyes and helped me realize that I should always be willing to try new things, no matter how scary they might seem at first. With this idea, I started writing A NEW HOME.
Now, a funny thing happens when we move to a different country: our experience living abroad actually connects us on a very deep and emotional level to our home country. Things you’ve taken for granted before suddenly become so precious, and you start seeing them with a different mindset. While living in NYC, I started reminiscing all the things I loved about my home city. The sounds, the smells, the food, and the people. All these things that make up a city, and what actually makes each place so wonderfully unique. There were so many things about Mexico that I wanted to share. And to tell you the truth, NYC reminded me of Mexico City in so many ways. So, you could say that this book is a love letter dedicated to these two magnificent cities I’ve had the honor of calling home and an effort to help others see them for what they truly are.
On a final note, another incredible thing I was able to experience while living in different countries was meeting people from all over the world. While I was living in Sweden I went to an international school, so I had friends from Kenya, England, Australia, Iran, Israel, Poland, Finland, India, USA, you name it. It was amazing! I was able to learn so much from all my friends. And since NYC is one of the most diverse cities in the world, I met amazing people there as well. Because of this, I learned that that no matter where any of us come from, we’re really not that different. So, even though the boy and the girl from A NEW HOME grew up in completely different cultures and circumstances, they are experiencing the same fears and emotions—which serves to show that in the end, we are all just humans.
Tania studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City and finished her studies in her home country of Mexico. Her work as a costume designer in film and television has helped to better grasp the art of storytelling through images. She uses a variety of media in her work, such as watercolor, gouache, color pencils, wax pastels and ink to create richly textured, engaging images.
Visit Tania's website: https://taniaderegil.com/
Tania’s American debut picture books , A New Home, and Un Nuevo Hogar, are available from the following vendors:
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