Esquivel’s Out of This World!

A playful picture-book biography of the father of space-age lounge music!


“A beautiful addition to music biography collections for upper elementary students.” School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Incorporates enough sound effects to make Esquivel proud.” Booklist

A self-taught Mexican composer, arranger, bandleader, and pianist, Juan García Esquivel was a pioneer in the use of stereo sound in the 1950s and '60s. Juan's music is quirky, fun, and truly out of this world, with unusual instrumentation and unorthodox vocal textures and effects. Juan was a true musical innovator, using sound and stereo as his musical palette.

Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist was written by Susan Wood. Artist Duncan Tonatiuh created the book's illustrations using his award-winning style based on ancient Mexican art. 

Check out Esquivel’s crazy-cool sound right here! It’s out of this world!

“A lively introduction to a somewhat obscure and profoundly innovative musical figure.” Kirkuk Reviews

“As Wood and Tonatiuh demonstrate in this picture-book biography, being part of Juan Garcia Esquivel fandom could be insanely cool.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, awarded CCBC Choice 2017

"Through this book, the reader discovers the true power of music… A must-read." —Nerdy Book Club

"Duncan Tonatiuh creates a sense of sound and movement through energetic, textured collage illustrations that celebrate the life of innovative Mexican musician and composer Juan García Esquivel. Incorporating funky fonts and far-out fashions, Tonatiuh’s unique artistic style harkens back to indigenous codex art and lends cultural authenticity to this pulsating picture-book biography.”Pura Belpré Award

"This book features musician, composer, and bandleader Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002), who removed the paper roll in his family’s player piano when he was a child so that he could make his own music. At 14, he worked as a paid pianist for radio shows, and at 17, he was an orchestra leader in Mexico City. Later, he created music from his New York City studio, experimenting with tempos, dynamics, and chords. Tonatiuh’s distinctive drawings, with collage textures and photographic elements, aptly capture Esquivel’s jazzy style, as do an appended author’s note, resource listing, and photograph." School Library Journal’s Top Ten Latinx Books

"The work of innovative composer Juan Garcia Esquivel is uniquely portrayed in this picture book biography by Susan Wood. Brian Amador’s narration, combined with tracks of space aged music and sound effects, presents a carefully orchestrated experience, with each element of the illustrations perfectly represented in stereo sound.” —ALA Odyssey Honor Audiobook Award

“This audiobook version of the picture book biography is magical.”School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

© Susan Wood 2024