The Patchwork Bike: Illustrator Van Thanh Rudd's 2019 BGHB Picture Book Award Speech

Hi, everyone, and thank you so much for awarding the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award to The Patchwork Bike. It’s such a privilege to receive this award, especially from a country where the political dynamics are very intense, and certainly where the creative industries are thriving and being really enlivened in this political atmosphere. It’s great to be a part of that. 

I thought I’d start with a bit of the background. Maxine may have explained that she approached me at some point a few years ago with a text for a children’s book. At first I thought, Well, this isn’t going to work. It’s too much work for me. Initially, I did think it would be too much work and that I would fail in the project. But I pushed through. I was inspired by a street artist called Evol, and from there the work just blossomed. 

The approach of using cardboard and paint was such a liberating thing for me. I didn’t want the illustrations for The Patchwork Bike to be anything I’d seen before. I really wanted to push the boundaries with it. I feel like I have, and to me the art matches Maxine’s words to a T. 

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2019 BGHB Picture Book winners.]

Hopefully we can expand upon this with our next book. Once again there’s a theme of social justice, fighting borders, and breaking down border walls.

From the January/February 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read author Maxine Beneba Clarke's BGHB speech here and this five questions interview with the author and illustrator. For more on the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB19. See Van Thanh Rudd's January/Feburary 2020 Horn Book Magazine cover art.

Van Thanh Rudd

Illustrator Van Thanh Rudd is the winner of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Award for The Patchwork Bike (Candlewick).

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