My Dad is a Tlacuilo

By Sandra Siemens, Amanda Mijangos

About the book:

My Dad is a Tlacuilo was included among the 100 books of the 2022 Cuatrogatos Foundation Award and was chosen as one of the New York Public Library’s 2021 Best Books for Kids. Amanda Mijangos’s illustrations were selected for the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair exhibition. The book’s copyrights have been sold to Italy.

An incredible, profound, and deep-felt story about trades, traditions, bonds, and families in pre-Hispanic Mexico, where the tlacuilos were in charge of painting and drawing the temples’ codices and murals. Its poetically beautiful text is masterfully combined with the illustrations, which produce a true visual experience where the color palette, the brush strokes, and the careful details get us to feel the Mexica culture on each page.

A book that speaks to us about how knowledge in an ancient culture is transferred from generation to generation, and about how to spark a child’s interest in using their hands, feeling proud and loving what is made with them.


“My dad is a tlacuilo. For me, my father’s trade is the nicest in the world, because tlacuilos paint words. He teaches me what he knows, because when I grow up, I shall be a tlacuilo too.

I open my ears as the morning opens itself to discover the new sounds. And I make such an effort to observe each and every motion of my father’s body as he works, that my eyes hurt at night.”

“Words are transparent butterflies. You must be very attentive when they pass nearby. And you must know a lot, as my father does, to catch them and listen to what they say. Only thus will a tlacuilo be able to paint those words on the sacred books.”


Translated by Rafael Abuchedid / Edited by Cecilia Della Croce.