SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An artist’s worst nightmare, original artwork stolen. Now she’s turning to the community for help getting them back. Gianna Marino is the New York Times best-selling illustrator of Don’t Let Them Disappear, written by Chelsea Clinton. She’s staying in Santa Fe before she moves to Colorado with her partner.

“We had just come here and had a car full of stuff and we unloaded most of it,” Marino said. 

Inside the car parked off West Alameda, were 20 illustrations from her latest book, but after forgetting to lock her car one night her artwork was stolen.

“I left it in there because it was safe and it was tucked behind the seat and it was not going to get lost in the shuffle of moving around,” Marino said. “They’re really important to me. I don’t think they’re really worth anything to anyone else but me, it’s sad that they’re somewhere out there.”

Marino says this is personal. The book was written and dedicated to the artist’s mother who passed away years ago. Waiting for Mama is Marino’s 16th published book and follows the journey of emperor penguins.

“It’s really just about the love and the parenting that these penguins give to their little babies,” Marino explains. 

Marino filed a police report and has been busy searching Santa Fe for her work. She likes to keep all of the original illustrations from her books once they’re published. She’s hoping with help from the community – the artwork will be returned safe and sound.

“If it has been opened the paintings are gauche on paper so they’re not thick, they’re not on canvas they’re just on watercolor paper and they’re all of penguins,” Marino said. “Checking with all the local pawn shops and art galleries and consignment shops to just alert them that this is stolen material if it’s out there.”

There’s a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the return of the illustrations – no questions asked. People are encouraged to report it to the Santa Fe Police Department. You can also contact Marino at 505-312-9020.