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Meilo So’s Illustrations Chosen for Original Art

Posted on 02/13/15 by Sally

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Major congratulations go out to Meilo So, whose work has been chosen for Original Art, the Society of Illustrators’ annual juried exhibition celebrating children’s book illustration!

The illustrations in question grace the bilingual children's book Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube, by Pat Mora. It has already won multiple awards, being named a 2015 Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor book, one of New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing for 2014, a Book Links Lasting Connections for 2014, and an ALA Notable Children’s Books for 2015.

Fourteen three-line verses poetically convey the many forms that water takes—from waves to fog to waterfalls and more—with double-page paintings depicting each form as it is manifested in different locations around the world.

“When I acquired the manuscript for Water Rolls, Water Rises, I knew I needed an illustrator who could convey the beauty of the natural world as well as the movement and moods found in a variety of water landscapes,” says Lee & Low editor Louise May. “Meilo’s work immediately came to mind, and I was delighted when she said yes to the project.”

“My primarily medium is watercolor, and the fluidity of it suits the subject of the book, although I hardly painted 'water' in the illustrations,” explains Meilo, who lives in Scotland's Shetland Isles. “I was very much guided by the text, which has lots of movement and passion. As always, most inspirations came from my environment—the sea, lochs, brooks, burns, still ponds, streams. Movements of water are the same all over the world, no matter where you are.”

For Louise, the most memorable part of working with Meilo was “seeing the finished pieces come in one by one—each scene so beautiful, yet so different from the others in mood, palette, and feeling. They were all I had hoped for and more.”

So far, reviews have been stellar. According to Publisher's Weekly, “Mora’s verse and So’s spare mixed-media illustrations swing from placid to tempestuous, creating an effective and fitting ebb and flow.”

We couldn't be more pleased for everyone involved.

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