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Reviews & Awards


Building on Nature: the Life of Antoni Gaudi

Awards and Honors

Chosen for the New York Public Library's "Top 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, 2009" list

International Reading Association 2010 Children's & Young Adults' Book Award

Book Reviews

"The duo responsible for Through Georgia's Eyes turn their attention to another great modernist, the Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi. The immediacy of the present-tense narrative is simple, direct and at times piercingly poetic: "With wide eyes, he observes the world. / All around him is light, form and / the Great Book of Nature. / He will read from it all his life." Rodriguez punctuates the personal side of Gaudi's life with a few telling details before letting his creations - buildings that "sparkle and glitter / and whisper with joy" - capture the spotlight, maintaining a through-line of the artist deflecting his share of clamor and criticism. While it's certainly difficult to capture on the page the intricacies of size and space and spectacle that combine to create architecture's appeal, Gaudi's creations offer a unique opportunity to emphasize the abstract over the physical. To this end, Paschkis doesn't try to reproduce the delicate exoticism of Gaudi's buildings in a line-for-line manner but rather soaks up the wondrous strange oozing from his designs and renders their dreamlike qualities in pointed details and large-scale impressions. Adorning the page are flourishes in handsome greens and browns, seamlessly linking nature to imagination to design. On one level, the result is a book that uses the artist's timeless works to construct a sprawling but coherent illustration of the creative process. On another, it is simply pure joy to look at."
Booklist, starred review

"Often framed by art nouveau embellishments, striking visuals in warm browns and greens show off Gaudi's work - his organic architectural designs, fantastical ornamental pieces and shapely mosaic structures. Rodriguez's gently poetic text follows Gaudi's growth from a boy who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis as he observed his Catalonian world through his evolution as an increasingly bold artist. An enchanting introduction." Publisher's Weekly

"There's plenty here to have young asthetes hankering for a plane ticket to Spain." Kirkus

Presentation Reviews

"Rachel is an awesome speaker. Everybody loved her book and presentation. Parents and teachers were still talking about it for a few days after."
- PTA President, Albuquerque, NM

"Rachel is a fantastic and engaging speaker. She really connects with her audience and is a wonderful inspiration for young aspiring writers. Both Building on Nature and Through Georgia's Eyes are filled with a story and objects children can readily identify with, and the illustrations display such beautiful and bold colors. I would definitely recommend Rachel for a school visit."
- 2nd grade teacher, CA

"Teachers have been stopping me in the hall or at lunch to say how much they appreciated Rachel's words about her life as an author, especially the creative process and value of persistence! I really loved listening to the Q&A sessions; Rachel handled the conversation so deftly that it might have been a group of 10 children in a circle around her instead of about 350 wiggly K-4th graders."
- Head Librarian, Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco

"I like how she was explaining her vocab and charting. She was clearly prepared to talk to, and with, a young audience. My students appreciated the visit from a real author. She was a fabulous presenter and speaker. Wonderful visuals and explanation."

"Rachel Rodriguez' presentation was amazing! Through her lively story of Georgia O'Keeffe, Rachel helps kids understand how stories and books are created and encourages students to go off and find their own stories."

"Thank you for mentioning how many drafts you wrote. As a teacher it is like pulling teeth to get my students to rewrite any draft."
- various teachers, CA schools

"What a wonderful event for our children! Rachel has a real gift for captivating young children and exciting their interest in Georgia O'Keeffe and the process of creating art. And not just the art of O'Keeffe, but also the art of creating a beautiful children's book. It was truly an enjoyable and inspirational event. We all felt so fortunate to have Rachel here."
- Head Librarian, Corrales Elementary School, Albuquerque, NM

"I love that she showed her rejection letters to students to keep on trying and never give up."


art © Julie Paschkis | published by Henry Holt | web design by Nicole Roberts Creative