Mr. Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach in 1992 and also studied Engineering at Cornell University. He is the illustrator of awarding-winning picture books such as What a Truly Cool World and Nappy Hair. Mr. Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach in 1992 and also studied Engineering at Cornell University. He is the illustrator of awarding-winning picture books such as What a Truly Cool World and Nappy Hair. “When I work on a picture book," says Mr. Cepeda, “I like to concentrate on color, shape, and people. I try to surrender to what the story is calling for. Some stories are not as plot based as others and thereby inspire me to use unexpected color or create compositions less tied to logic where shapes and things and characters “defy gravity." Mice and Beans was a very recognizable slice of life to me. I could visualize Rosa Maria's home and world right away. As with every book, I try not to illustrate just the words, but to write my own story in pictures, one that compliments the manuscript and is in harmony with it. I think the best illustration does that." Mr. Cepeda received the Recognition of Merit Award for 2000 from The George G. Stone Center for Children's Books. His illustrations have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times; Buzz, Inc. Magazine; and Latina Magazine. His original artwork can be viewed at Every Picture Tells a Story in Los Angeles and has been accepted into the Society of Illustrators shows in New York and Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Graphic Artist's Guild. Mr. Cepeda speaks about his work to children and adults at schools, conferences, and other venues. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and son. Awards: What a Truly Cool World Written by Julius Lester Family Life Magazine Top 10 Best Books of the Year Family Fun Critic's Choice BCCB Blue Ribbon Books Gracias , The Thanksgiving Turkey Written by Joy Cowley American Bookseller Pick of the Lists Visit Joe Cepeda's Web site .