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Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez
and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors

The Heart of It Anthology #1

Written & Illustrated by Maya Gonzalez
With 23 New & Emerging Diverse Children's Book ArtistAuthors

Paperback, 88 pages
5.5″ x 8.5″
Intended Audience: Ages 4-11/Grades K-5

By the light of the moon, the storyteller stands in the river and gathers what the storyfish bring her, but the wind promises something more…

more book details below

Only 2 left in stock

By the light of the moon, the storyteller stands in the river and gathers what the storyfish bring her, but the wind promises something more. The river’s flow carries her gently into the unknown as she finds herself traveling far out to sea in search of a great ship with an unlikely guide by her side.

The great ship holds the key: there are others out there spinning their tales into the night!

Whaleheart guides us out on the nightsea and brings us home again, reminding us that “a story is a sail with a wind built into it” and nothing is beyond our reach.

Through a re-visioning of the anthology format, award-winning children’s book artist and author Maya Christina Gonzalez conjures a night journey within which to showcase 23 new and emerging diverse children’s book ArtistAuthors from around the world. Some share windows into future picture books, some poemas, while others share memories and short stories. All are inspiration for kids to tell their story, share their art and know that all stories are important, because all stories are connected.

Featured AuthorArtists in the 1st AnthologyFeatured ArtistAuthors: (in alphabetical order by last name)
Victoria Bruno, Debbie Burran, Indelisa Carrillo, Jim Cartwright, Nicole Davis, Summer Edward, Silvia Garcia, Lauraine Gibbons, Carol Green, Rosalind Lord, Janine Macbeth, Katherine Mahler, Laurin Mayeno, Sanata Nacro, Innosanto Nagara, Judith Nasse, Melissa Reyes, Nataša Savelli, Carole Stedronsky, Kenji Tanner, Jorge Tevalan, Cynthia A. Weber, Laurie L. Young – view more about ALL of these amazing ArtistAuthors on the “Featured ArtistAuthors Bios” tab above.

About MayaAbout Maya Christina Gonzalez: Maya is an acclaimed fine artist, educator, and the illustrator of more than twenty award-winning picture books, several of which she also wrote. Her book My Colors, My World won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award Honor from the American Library Association. Her most recent picture book, Call Me Tree was listed in Kirkus’ Best Picture Books of 2014 that Celebrate Diversity. She is passionate about inspiring others to create books, because she believes that creating children’s books has the potential to be one of the most radical things you can do! Wanting to do more than just pass on her knowledge, Maya decided to use her online children’s book course as a springboard to begin mentoring and publishing ArtistAuthors right away through the anthologies. (more about Maya on her website: mayagonzalez.com)

About The Heart of It Collection:

The Heart of It Collection

Whaleheart is the first book in The Heart of It Collection: annual anthologies in direct and immediate response to a lack of equitable and relevant representation of the people in traditional children’s books.

After taking Maya’s course, The Heart of It: Creating Children’s Books that Matter, aspiring and emerging ArtistAuthors are invited to put the teaching into real life practice through the process of creating one full spread for The Heart of It Anthology for that year. Over the course of 4-5 months students are guided through developing their story and art to be published. Step-by-step submission packet and videos, scheduled reviews by Maya as well as encouragement to review course materials support students to more deeply integrate the process of creating art and story for children’s books. The whole experience offers the opportunity to learn the balance between creative expression, honing one’s craft, and the ability to follow through and how important that balance is to making truly powerful books for our children.

Emerging and established authors and artists who shared their wisdom through the course’s Community Spotlights are also invited to submit work.

The final book is then used as a tool to support ArtistAuthors in getting their work out into the world and transform who creates children’s books and how.

Sales of the book also support future ArtistAuthors as proceeds are put towards offering more scholarships for The Heart of It course providing a cyclical environment of mutual support.

a return of storytellers and artists...


The Heart of It Collection is intended to:

  • create a space for ‘first voice’ expression
  • provide real life experience in a supportive environment to create one full spread for a published children’s book
  • support participating ArtistAuthors in getting their work out into the world, and into the hands of children
  • model a viable alternative to traditional publishing routes
  • encourage the development of VOICE for those traditionally silenced in our society
  • reclaim and free the power of personal and communal storytelling
  • explore that all stories are important because all stories are connected and so connect us
  • share that coming into our own creative power strengthens us and by extension strengthens our community when shared
  • highlight that EVERYONE is a storyteller and EVERYONE is an artist

So let this book remind you to

begin listening to your own story and feel the power of your own voice
and your innate ability to create your own image!

Pass it on!

Write Now! Make Books - free series for kids

For Kids! Want to get started on your own book?

Visit Write Now! Make Books to download your field guide and get started sharing your story and art!

Weight 7 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 8.5 × .23 in


Date of Publication

Pre-release: Summer 2015 Official release: Fall 2015


8.5”(L) x 5.5”(W) x .2286”(D)


Paperback; Full Color

Intended Audience

Children Ages 4-11, Grade Level K-5


JUV012000 – Juvenile Fiction : Fairy Tales & Folklore – Anthologies JUV037000 – Juvenile Fiction : Fantasy & Magic JUV057000 – Juvenile Fiction : Stories in Verse


English w/ some Spanish

Featured ArtistAuthors Bios

Featured ArtistAuthors in the 1st Anthology

Learn more about the featured ArtistAuthors
from our very 1st Anthology:
(in alphabetical order by last name)

Victoria BrunoVictoria Bruno was born and grew up in Chile. Educator and self-taught artist. Enjoys…creating and teaching through arts. Believes…in the freedom of expression and the abilities of each child as unique. Dreams…of a just and peaceful world where children can play and fly feeling free.
Debbie BurranDebbie loves all colors of people and colorful painting. At five she was painting clowns and going to the circus. The different people, colors and acts were amazing. She thinks joining the circus would be exciting, but teaching children to love all people would be her dream and fantastic!
Indelisa CarrilloIndelisa grew up in a house full of stories and mariachi music filling the rooms. She is an educator currently working with immigrant children and their families. She hopes to one day release all the stories she has written and painted into the world and into the hands of children.
Jim CartwrightJim lives in San Francisco with his husband Jorge. He works with kids as both a creative writing teacher and a speech therapist. Jim has published poems in various anthologies and is a member of CPITS (California Poets in the Schools). He has released three CDs of his music.
Nicole DavisNicole loves quiet. She believes that quiet time is essential to staying connected to one’s true self. She encourages you to take a moment and let the silence hold you. What will you discover about your true self?
Summer EdwardBorn in the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Summer grew up enjoying her grandmother’s cooking and eating delicious street foods from coal pot vendors. She created and runs Anansesem Caribbean children’s literature ezine. Her writing for adults has appeared in various journals and this is her first published work for children. www.summeredward.com
Silvia GarciaSilvia was born in Guadalajara. She’s an entrepreneur and storyteller and loves to reflect life events with her kids through art. This is her first collaboration, created to be used with kids about acceptance. Her illustrations use “mistakes” with the idea that everything is art and you can find it! www.siyogalo.com
Lauraine GibbonsLauraine grew up in Houston, Texas. She’s always had a keen love for animals and nature. She is an Emmy award winning art director & designer. This is her first foray into picture book writing and illustrating, and, hopefully, not her last.
Carol GreenCarol fell in love with children’s books while reading to her now grown son. A cartoonist, television producer, writer and production publicist on movie sets throughout the U.S. and Canada, she now takes her own baby steps through the labyrinth of children’s books to impart love, hope and self-esteem.
Rosalind LordRosalind has always been fascinated by the wide variety of animals, plants, and rocks in nature. A long-time tech person, she has also created illustrations for cards, T-shirts, and other gifts. This is the first time she’s illustrated and written for children’s books. seaserpent.com
Janine MacbethJanine loves the adventure and discovery of family tree climbing. The only thing she loves more is making books, which is why she started Blood Orange Press, a publishing company that spreads dignity, diversity, and joy. Janine is of mixed Asian, Black, white, and Native descent. www.bloodorangepress.com

(Janine was one of our Community Spotlight interviews in The Heart of It course)

Katherine MahlerKatherine always wanted to be an artist and a teacher so she became an art teacher! She currently teaches and is working on inspirational curriculum tools for teachers and students in the hope of demystifying the creative process. Art is for everyone and can be made by everyone!
Laurin MayenoWhen Laurin was a child, she wrote about a Little Star who was sad about being different. Now a mother, Laurin has written about Little Star seeing things in a new way. Laurin likes to tell stories about being different so people will be kinder to themselves and others. www.outproudfamilies.com

(Laurin was one of our Community Spotlight interviews in The Heart of It course)

Sanata NacroSanata loves her curls – and she wants to spread this love and appreciation for black hair and curls into the world. She is an aspiring illustrator and is just creating her first children’s book. She lives in Germany and is a big dreamer, art-lover and eater of licorices. www.sanatanacro.com
Innosanto NagaraInnosanto is the author/illustrator of A is for Activist. Originally from Indonesia, he moved to the US to study zoology and philosophy but instead became a graphic designer and activist founding Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative dedicated to Social Change. Inno and his family live in a cohousing community in Oakland. www.aisforactivist.com

(Inno was one of our Community Spotlight interviews in The Heart of It course)

Judith NasseJudith loves books, children, and nature. When her friend died she was worried about what would happen to his cat Fred, so she wrote a story based on the real Fred and her life as a preschool teacher in multi-cultural Northern New Mexico. She’s a published writer and artist. www.judithnasse.com
Melissa ReyesMelissa loves her Nana and the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Her spread is a tribute to them. Melissa is a teacher, writer, and artist living in Oakland, California. She is publishing her first children’s book, I Am Sausal Creek, and she can’t wait to share it with kids! www.meliwings.com
Natasa SavelliNataša is an artist, storyteller, healer and mum. Melding soulful art with healing colour, Nataša’s magical, endearing children’s stories hold a space of graceful wonder where hearts open, beauty lives and wholeness is felt. Her message is ‘Live in your heart’s freedom and grow your deepest, truest self from here’
Carole StedronskyCarole loves play-full art and writing. Her service dog Hazel helps by retrieving pens and pencils when they drop on the floor. After finishing the illustrations for the picturebook You Are The Artist, Carole and Hazel will be working on their Hazel The Service Dog books.
Kenji TannerKenji grew up looking at the sky and imagining she had invisible friends. She adored the beauty all around her. Kenji is an acclaimed fine artist and educator who is currently developing children’s books that encourage young people to appreciate their unique beauty and build confidence for a bright future. www.kenjiartdesign.com
Jorge TevalanJorge grew up in a Mayan village in Guatemala, and came to the USA walking through the desert. He loves the pyramids because they are mysterious. He also likes to draw and write short stories. He works in a bakery as a cake decorator.
Cynthia A. WeberCynthia is a believer and seer of magic. She sees it in her garden and each one of us. As a writer and artist, Cynthia shows this magic in her work.
Laurie L. YoungLaurie has always wanted to fly, but her arms proved to be aerodynamically insufficient. Instead, she decided to write books and draw pictures. She has written six preschool books, including the best-selling I See A Monster. In her spare time, Laurie is a graphic designer, making books for other people.

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