Boston Comic Con was a blast as usual, seeing the cos-players, looking at the new (and old) comics, touching base with all the creators you see throughout the convention circuit. Javier Cruz Winnik is one of those creators. He sells some really amazing art at conventions across the country. I’ve run into him several times over the years and have always been impressed by his work. But there’s the rub, I review comics. I really haven’t carved out a niche at What’cha Reading for recommendations of artists (though I think it may be time to pursue that idea.) So when I saw “A Reason To Smile” at Javier’s booth I was psyched. I finally get an opportunity to talk about his work!
Somehow I missed his kickstarter, weird I don’t usually miss a kickstarter (just ask my bank balance) so I was unfamiliar with the book. But knowing what a nice, pleasant, friendly dude Javier is I had a feeling it would be upbeat (and maybe the title gave it away a bit?)
In the heart of New York City we meet Luiza Brillante. A 10 year old girl with a wonderful gift, not only is she always looking for the good around her, she does her best to spread that good to everyone she meets. Javier gives us a wonderful character in Luiza, describing her as “a walking silver lining”, and she is. But this book isn’t 22 pages of puppies and rainbows. Luiza lives in a city full of millions of people and she sees that not everyone is happy all the time. She herself loses that happiness, but along the way she figures out that being positive and trying to lift the spirits of others is a wonderful way to travel through life. And can have an effect on those you help as well as yourself.
Javier’s art is as upbeat and sweet as Luiza. My wonderful city never looked better. And the lessons he presents are welcome reinforcement to any parent’s ongoing battle with the occasionally inconsiderate mind of a child. A book that can take the time to show how good it can be to spread a smile to others is worth picking up. I can’t wait to read it (and reread it) with my son.
Though it was originally a kickstarter the book is now available through Amazon, from Javier himself and soon digitally on comiXology, check out the links below for purchase info. If you’re a parent, teacher, or librarian this book will speak to that special magic children can have, and share with others.
I just found out while researching this review that Javier has funded his second volume of Luiza’s story through kickstarter. I’ll let you know where and when that will be available soon.