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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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Lower School Students Explore Creativity with Internationally Acclaimed Artist

A whirlwind of color and creativity swept through the Lower School this week. In preparation for and during the visit from internationally renowned illustrator Rafael López on Wednesday, April 10, students embarked on a journey of artistic expression and exploration.

“I think so much of what we do throughout the year in the Lower School is tied to Rafael’s work,” said Teacher Librarian Leigh Roberts, who coordinated the visit. “Harnessing our creativity, finding our voice, and celebrating community, culture, and diversity, that’s King, and that’s Rafael.”

López is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning illustrator born and raised in Mexico City. His illustrations bring diverse characters to children’s books, and he produces books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people. In addition to his books, López founded the Urban Art Trail movement in San Diego’s East Village, creating a series of large-scale murals bringing the community together.


Students were able to interact with López during his visit to the school. Savannah Holder ’32 was intrigued about the wide range of people Lopez has met throughout his life, “How did you meet such famous people?”

“You never know when connections are going to happen,” López replied. “If you work hard and love what you do, connections will happen.”

In preparing for López's visit, students delved into his rich body of work during Library and Technology Literacy, Art, and Spanish classes. They explored his books, learned about his background, and engaged in activities inspired by his artistry. To further welcome López, Prekindergarten through Grade 2 students painted work inspired by his art style, which was used to create a mural in the Lower School Library.


During his visit on Wednesday, López conducted three presentations tailored to the different grade levels and had lunch with fourth and fifth grade students. From Prekindergarten to Grade 5, students were captivated by stories of his childhood, his artistic journey, and the cultural influences that permeate his work.

Growing up in Mexico, he recalled experiencing firsthand the transformative impact of diverse narratives and vibrant imagery. His journey from traveling long distances to access a library to becoming a renowned illustrator and muralist spoke volumes about the power of art to shape lives and communities.

Through interactive demonstrations and personal anecdotes, López inspired students to embrace their creativity, celebrate diversity, and find their voices through art.