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Introducing the creatives behind our next book: Angie and Aly!

Since we published our debut story, Lillian The Tiriki Girl, in November 2020, we've been thinking (and you've been asking), when's the next story coming out? A few months ago, we shared that we're working on not just one, but TWO new picture books, in partnership with talented makers from around the world. 

Today, we want to introduce you to the author and illustrator behind the second of these stories (if you missed the first, you can read more here). Please meet the brilliant and inspiring Angie & Aly! 


Our newest writer:
Angie (she/her)

Angie is currently an activist leader who is part of Actoría Social Juvenil, an organisation that fights to transform realities in the countryside of Colombia through education and community mobilisation.


Photo of Angie with her friends, as children.

Way back when: Angie with her sisters

What is your name? 

Angie Alexandra Pino Narvaéz

Where is home for you?

I was born in Colombia, Departamento del Cauca, Municipio de La Vega, Corregimiento de Altamira, Vereda Miraflores. Nowadays, I live in Popayán which is the capital city of Departamento del Cauca, studying at university.

What keeps you busy?

My work with Actoría Social Juvenil and all the networks we participate in as an organisation. Also, design keeps me busy, the creation of graphic and audiovisual pieces with which I show all the work that I have carried out since my roots as a peasant. Likewise, the planting, maintenance and harvesting of all the food that we grow here in the city through the agroecological community gardens.


Angie working in one of the community gardens

Angie working in one of the community gardens (Angie is pictured in the bottom left corner)

What brings you joy?

I am very happy to return to my town and see my own, and see the mountains that taught me to grow up and live as a peasant woman, proud of my land. It also gives me joy to do all the rituals with the land that gives us our food. It is something that fills me with great joy and hope.


What was your favourite game as a child? 

I liked to make houses in the mountains: little houses like caves that I built with leaves, tree branches and things I found in the mountains. It was a lot of fun especially because we played with more children and we tried to see who made the prettiest house. Creativity was always very present - I used to put many flowers inside and fill it with leaves so I could lay down on the ground.


Houses like the ones Angie made when she was young

A (more formal) example of the houses Angie made when she was young

What hopes do you have for your story?

First, I would like to be able to portray in phrases and illustrations a story that has formed me as a proud peasant woman of a land that embraces beautiful mountains and important rivers. To be able to see this feeling reflected in something physical, that more people and especially children can read, see and imagine what I experienced in my childhood, is for me the best feeling. It's a feeling of gratitude with life and with the spirits that accompany us.

I would also like more people to know about peasant culture and their struggles to keep it alive in the midst of modernity.

You can find more of Angie's work and connect with her on Facebook


Our newest illustrator:
Aly (she/her)

Aly is an illustrator who’s favourite medium is watercolour. For her painting is a form of therapy and she gets inspiration from the universe and a journey of self-knowledge.

An example of Aly's beautiful watercolour work

An example of Aly's beautiful watercolour work

What's your name? 

Alisson Gonzalez, I like to be called Aly

Where do you call home? 

I was born in Neiva, Colombia but I grew up in Bogota. I now live in Sydney, and have for the past 7 years.

What keeps you busy?

A little 3 year old girl. I also work as a graphic designer at an advertising agency. I use illustration as a form of expression and to connect to myself.


What brings you joy?

Looking at the stars and the moon, in general to connect with nature. Witnessing my daughter learning something new. It is amazing to know that she formed inside me.


Examples of Aly's digital illustration work

 Some of Aly's beautiful digital illustration work

What was your favourite game as a child? 

I liked to play with dolls, read books and a fishing toy. I liked sports, specially figure iceskating, which stopped being a game and eventually become a profession!


What hopes do you have for your story?

I would like children to learn more about Colombia, and about the beautiful countryside and resources we have. To empower these children to think as active agents of change as part of their community. I would like children to be inspired by Angie's story and other Small Fires stories to write their own story.


A digital illustration of a woman holding a candle under the moonlight

Another example of Aly's stunning work


You can find more of Aly's work and support her on Instagram - she also makes beautiful stationary via @authenticallyvenus

We are so excited to share more details of Angie and Aly's story with you as it progresses! We usually share updates here, on our blog, as well as via our newsletter and on social media.


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