Duncan Tonatiuh ’03
There is a running theme that has become apparent to me after talking to several alums. Buxton has a huge influence on the lives of our students and has played a significant role in their choice of career and how they live their lives. Duncan Tonatiuh is a perfect example of that.
Duncan is an award winning author and illustrator of children’s books that focus on Mexican and Mexican/American culture and social justice issues. Duncan pointed out that according to the Children’s Cooperative Book Center* only about 20% of children’s books published in the US are about people of color. That’s a void Duncan is helping to fill. He has written and illustrated 7 books and illustrated 2 for other authors. He has won many awards including the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award in 2015 for Separate is Never Equal, the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award for Funny Bones in 2015 and for The Princess and the Warrior in 2016. The books were published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. His most recent book, published in September of this year, Danza, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Amalia Hernández, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.
When he was a student here he had the time and freedom to explore the arts in an encouraging environment. After he graduated from Buxton he went on to get a degree from Parsons School of Design in NYC. He stayed in NYC for a few years and eventually moved back to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he lives today. Duncan shared that he became more interested in his country and culture when he was away. That’s what ultimately led him home and gave his writing and illustrating direction and purpose.
Photo by James F. Quinn