Anessa Castro Martínez is one of the people for whom the pandemic made them rethink their lives. A graphic designer by profession, she decided to turn her professional course towards something that had always filled her heart: illustration. Last Tuesday, April 26, he received the prize of the 5th ‘Còmics per la Igualtat’ contest, awarded by the Tarragona City Council to incorporate a non-sexist vision of artistic creation with Un monstre, of which the jury also highlighted the important role of representing language inclusive and the will to break with gender stereotypes. In addition, just a few months ago she saw the light of her first illustrated children’s book, The coolest thing in the world, created together with the teacher from Castellón, Victoria Hernández.
A monstre tells the story that Vanessa had with her daughter Valentina, when going to kiss her, «I said: good night, princess. And she answered me: I am not a princess, I am a monster. Surprised by the answer, Vanessa told her why she wanted to be something “so ugly”, to which her little girl, who was then five years old, replied that monsters “are fun, adventurous, strong and brave beings”, while princesses “do not live adventures, they only wait to be rescued by princes”.
Castro says that the idea of her daughter had such an impact on her that when she saw the announcement she did not hesitate: “I was encouraged in the first place because it was a contest organized by my city. Sometimes we complain that there are few calls at an artistic level, but if nobody participates when they come out, we give one more reason why no more contests of this type are held in Tarragona». And, also because she felt that he was “a comic for equality, where a monster is the protagonist and he explains to us that he wants to define himself because of the stereotypes that we find in the culture,” she explains. “A monster who wants to have fun, travel, fight. If children’s books had more monsters and fewer princesses, we would have fuller childhoods,” Castro concludes.
‘The coolest thing in the world’
In addition to the negative definitions that we know, Castro looked for other meanings: “and if a monster is a fantastic being, a person with various extraordinary qualities to do one thing and, above all, is someone contrary to the natural order established by society, I am super proud that my daughter wants to be a monster, “he said in his acceptance speech. That is the legacy that she seeks for her daughter and all her children: an innocent childhood, free of labels and whose flag is happiness.
That is why she embarked headlong when she was offered to participate as an illustrator in the children’s book project that teacher Victoria Hernández was working on, The coolest thing in the world, a story “designed to educate the little ones in values and to remind the families the importance of the little things, which are the ones that really give meaning to life”, the authors relate.
The book, which can already be obtained in physical stores and also online, is designed to be enjoyed by the family. For this reason, the two authors seek to carry out interactive presentations and workshops to involve the whole family and remind them of what “the coolest thing in the world” is.