Alithia’s Art Angels Little Free Library-Gallery Opens in Memory of Young Artist Lost in Uvalde Tragedy

By Sarah Nelson

On April 28, 2024, Alithia’s Art Angels Little Free Library-Gallery officially opened, commemorating the 12th birthday of Alithia Haven Ramirez. Tragically, Alithia was killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in 2022.

“I wanted to start a Little Free Library in honor of Alithia because she had a deep love for reading and art,” said Jess Hernandez, Alithia’s mother. “To honor her legacy, I started this Little Free Library to show the world how special and memorable reading can be, especially when shared with loved ones. I also wanted to share Alithia’s love for art through this library, ensuring her legacy lives on in our hearts forever.”

Alithia’s Art Angels Little Free Library #162737 is located beside her mural, created by artist Juan Velazquez at Alithia’s Art Alley in Uvalde. The library-gallery, lovingly maintained by her mother Jess, provides a safe space for young artists to explore their creativity, leave and take artwork and books, share their passion for art and literature, and foster a sense of community.

“Alithia’s Little Free Library is more than just a place to exchange books—it represents Alithia’s love for art, reading, kindness, and helping others,” Jess shared. “By sharing her love to the community, I hope it will inspire children to follow their dreams and make a positive impact on the world the way Alithia wanted to be.”

In addition to the Little Free Library and gallery, Alithia’s legacy is celebrated in Alithia Ramirez Was an Artist, a picture book biography of a ten-year-old girl bursting with creativity and kindness, who dreams of studying art in Paris and becoming a professional artist. 

The story, written by Violet Lemay, focuses on Alithia’s artistic aspirations and the struggles she overcomes in her artistic pursuits. The message is summed up in the final words of the story: “When an artist dies, her art lives on. Alithia’s art lives in all of us… and Alithia lives in our hearts.”

“The lives of Alithia Ramirez and 20 others were tragically cut short in Uvalde’s mass shooting,” said author Violet Lemay. “Because this is a picture book for small children, this incident is symbolized wordlessly. An author’s note for parents and caregivers on the final page explains what happened to Alithia, so that they can decide how to handle this information. The final page also credits Alithia for several of her drawings which are featured in the illustrations. Back matter includes art-themed conversation starters.”

A Little Free Library is a meaningful way to honor and remember a loved one. Learn more about starting a Little Free Library with a custom tribute plaque.

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