Her book "Sometimes All I Need Is Me" received the Ezra Jack Keats Writer Honor, a huge nod. She is the first Colombian writer and illustrator to receive it
Colombian, psychologist from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, she worked in Barcelona, Spain, in graphic design and today she does personalized therapies. It seemed to her that professionally, Juliana Perdomo was complete, but in her mind and heart there was a latent concern: "I always wanted to do children's literature and at some point, I launched myself to publish my drawings and stories on Instagram”. It was the best decision she could have made.
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We don't know how many people read us on social networks and who they are, but Juliana's stories and illustrations began to have followers, including a literary agent in New York who wanted to represent her: “That happened in 2018, my dream came true!”. Juliana's talent heard a sweet bell that she rang on her door through Erica Rand Silverman, representative of the Stimola Literary Studio.
Life in the pages of a story
Juliana had been developing her desire to write for children since she was studying at school: "When I was little, I had a wonderful teacher who turned the classroom into a story, and I never forgot those magical experiences”. She never broke away from the world of children's stories, but others wrote them. Juliana discovered in her psychological therapies that, through stories, it was easier to describe complex situations that afflict children: "And when I was a mother, I could see that my son Luca, now 10 years old, applies what he learns in his life from the books. He is the judge of my stories and I realize that they could be of interest to others his age when I manage to capture his attention”.
Illustrations and children's stories are her elements because for this Bogota writer, children's literature is pure and honest and, to contribute to those who wanted to see her drawings, identify with them, and see them represented in letters, Juliana Perdomo stopped dodging her appointment with pen and began to write for that audience that knows no hypocrisy, children.
The root of their stories
Her experiences, memories, her day-to-day life with her son or other people's stories are Juliana's source of inspiration: "I feel that this is how I am faithful to the truth because although I create fictional characters, what they live along the lines of my Stories are the product of real experiences”.
Her first book "Sometimes All I need is me"- available on Amazon – was cultivated for years and came out of the daily life of the writer when faced with some feelings that could overwhelm her, she repeated "I am strong, I can walk alone and look within myself for the comfort I need”.
How to reach children? “I am fortunate today to work with children in the United States who have many spaces in bookstores, libraries, and their schools for reading, but that does not mean that children from other parts do not read to me. I address universal themes such as loneliness, fear, and boredom that I translate for them and with which they identify”.
Responsibility with the children of the world
Juliana Perdomo, as a psychologist and writer, feels that she has a great responsibility towards the world's children: "I want to tell relevant stories, but I prefer not to use morals because that way each child will find her message”.
Today the writer is preparing a book, inspired by her grandfather, which addresses displacement in Colombia and the possibility that those who forcibly abandon their lands will one day return to their homeland, to what is loved, to what is lost. Through her stories, she strives for children to find within themselves the tools to recover from adverse experiences that have marked them: "Everyone finds in the story and the drawings of a book what they want because readers are different”.
Juliana Perdomo also illustrates the stories of other writers. She took art courses in Italy and Spain, but she feels self-taught. She describes her drawing style as retro Latino folk: “I use textures and graphics from the 60s, very colorful. I take the temperature and nuances of the characters created by other writers to translate them into drawings”.
The book "Sometimes All I Need Is Me" received the Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award for New Writers, a great recognition since Juliana Perdomo is the first Colombian writer and illustrator to receive it: “I don't know how it happened, I'm very happy. Once the version in Spanish and English came out and through a review made by literary critics from Kirkus Review, the star that achieved publication by the Starred Review Booklist and the fact that the New York library cataloged it as one of the most read in 2023, the magic came true”.
What follows in the future of Juliana Perdomo is the creation of more stories with the support of the Ezra Jack Keats imprint that opened the doors of children's literature wide open for her.
Her daily life includes walking with the pets, leaving her son on the bus that takes him to school, having coffee and talking with her husband in the mornings, and letting, in the daily solitude of home, the talent flow. She gave a round of applause from THE WOMAN POST for this young and talented writer and illustrator born in Colombia.
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