Stitching Stories of Inclusion: A Conversation With Andrea Campos

Nicholas Clayton, Librarian, Multilingual Collections,
Author Andrea Campos and her bilingual book, Con Pollo: A Bilingual Playtime Adventure

In the vibrant tapestry of storytelling, Andrea Campos, a Mexican-American New York Times bestselling illustrator and visual artist, has channeled her playful yet purposeful style into diverse projects. Her creative journey traverses various realms—from marketing campaigns, books, toys, and even a bilingual children's book co-authored by Jennifer Lopez and Jimmy Fallon. As the daughter of immigrants, Andrea is deeply committed to inclusive narratives and interwoven tales that highlight an array of people, places, and cultures.

The Los Angeles Libros Festival tagline, "Read, dream and celebrate…en dos idiomas," finds its embodiment in Andrea's narratives. She reveals, "My books, Con Pollo: A Bilingual Playtime Adventure and 100 First Words + Primeras Palabras' seamlessly echo the spirit of the tagline 'Read, Dream, and Celebrate en dos idiomas.' These books are not just whimsical tales; they cultivate language prowess, embrace cultural heritage, and ignite the joy of bilingualism."

Guiding aspiring writers, Andrea's wisdom carries the weight of experience. Andrea emphasizes that "art is your personal odyssey of expression and discovery. Embrace each step, and conquer your fears. Remember, your stories are the world's mosaic; keep composing, sketching, exploring, and, above all, continue believing in your own voice." Andrea's journey, starting from an Instagram page to fulfill her dreams in 2020, is an inspiring example for aspiring artists to persevere on their paths of discovery.

Reflecting on libraries' roles in championing underrepresented communities, Andrea acknowledges the importance of diversity in the narrative tapestry. She emphasizes that libraries are responsible for elevating these unheard voices by curating a collection that speaks to the spectrum of human experiences. Andrea passionately underscores how this limited portrayal has unfairly defined people worldwide and emphasizes the significance of her work as a visual storyteller. She shared, "Through my work as a visual storyteller and author, I try to be the representation I didn't see growing up. A Latina with a chronic illness who has grown up in between two cultures." She aims to provide the representation she lacked while growing up, highlighting the joy within her community to unite people through shared laughter, playfulness, and love.

In continuing her artistic journey, Andrea is immersed in two exciting projects. When we asked her about them, she said, "I am currently working on what I hope will be my author/illustrator debut! It's a playful story with an incredibly cute character that I just know kids will love." In addition to her author/illustrator debut, she has also decided to create a line of school products. Andrea added, "I've started developing my back-to-school product line. I'm launching lunch boxes this year at Target, and next year, I hope to expand on that with backpacks, pencil cases, and everything you need to start the school year right."

Andrea Campos will be one of the featured authors at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family celebrating stories and music from Latin America and the United States. L.A. Libros Fest will be streamed live on YouTube on Friday, September 29, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The Festival will be in-person at Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Book cover of 100 first words
100 First Words
Campos, Andrea

Book cover of Con pollo: a bilingual playtime adventure
Con Pollo: A Bilingual Playtime Adventure
Fallon, Jimmy