Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Q&A with Rev Valdez



Rev Valdez is the author and illustrator of the new children's picture book Bunso Meets a Mumu. He was born in the Philippines, moved to San Francisco as a child, and is still based in the Bay Area.


Q: What inspired you to write Bunso Meets a Mumu, and how did you create your character Bunso?


A: I was inspired by the stories told to me by my family about spirits and folklore creatures. I wanted to also create a character that reminded me of child characters with endless imagination and curiosity but also reminded me of myself.


Q: Did you focus more on the text or the pictures at first, or did you work on them simultaneously?


A: I worked on the text and illustrations simultaneously. My process is to storyboard the pages so I know how the characters would naturally react or "overreact." I believe the images dictate the words, not the other way around.


Q: What impact has Filipino folklore had on your work?


A: Filipino folklore has had a great impact on my work; it pushes me to be creative in my designs. There are over 300 different Aswangs in the Philippines, and each description is vastly different or very similar to one another. So I have to take a lot of creative liberties.


Researching Filipino folklore has deepened my understanding of my own culture, which has been one of the many joys about creating Bunso.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?


A: I hope kids feel curious about Filipino culture and embrace our quirky monsters.


There's a quote I've read from Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokemon, that has resonated with me: "I've always believed that monsters have the potential to unite us. A way for us to understand the lives of other people and better know ourselves." This is how I feel about sharing Filipino folklore as well.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am currently working on my next Bunso book, Bunso Meets a Duwende. It'll hopefully be out sometime next year.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I am currently doing read aloud events within the Bay Area, so be on the lookout for those!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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