Friday, August 21, 2009

A Few Artists to Thank

Review of Lion & Mouse @ Fuse#8
Last week, I listed fall books I was looking forward to reading. Two of the must read picture books are illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. The Lion & the Mouse (Sept) and Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson (Oct) Both of these books look absolutely gorgeous. Pinkney has been illustrating children's books since 1964. There has been much talk recently about getting people to read and support children's author of color, like here and here. When I saw the two Jerry Pinkney titles, I couldn't help but think as hard is it is now for author's of color now, I can't even imagine what it was like 45 years ago. So I thought I would take a moment list a few artist as a thank you. These artist refused to be discouraged and allowed their talent to speak for them.
Jerry Pinkney A wonderful 2009 Q&A @ Publishers Weekly

Tom Feelings The first time I saw Soul Looks Back in Wonder, I was captivated by his beautiful illustrations.
Virginia Hamilton Hamilton is the first African American to win the Newbery Medal in 1975 for M.C. Higgins, The Great She received the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1992 "Ms. Hamilton, the first United States Hans Christian Andersen Award winner since 1978, said of the award,

"I'm thrilled. I feel very grateful that the international community finds my work worthy of this award. I am pleased because, by selecting me, they have affirmed their interest in multicultural concerns and their support for cultural diversity. I hope to continue writing good books for some time to come. This is a culmination of twenty-five years of my career."

Eloise Greenfield - Honey I Love, and Other Love Poems is amazing and beyond beautiful.
Julius Lester Lester interviews James Baldwin in 1984 for NYT This little treasure I found by chance and it's worth reading.
Ashley Bryan Video interview @Readingrockets
John Steptoe John Steptoe Award New Talent Award

Like I said at the beginning I was toying with the idea of putting this together when I saw Pinkney's new fall releases. I knew today was the day, when I stopped by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast to find Our Children Can Soar , spotlighted
Our Children Can Soar, celebrates and recognizes various African Americans during the civil rights movements its a perfect fit for this post. All the artist I've mentioned have help make it easier for the next artist of color and they've contributed so much to the world of children's literature. To them I say thank you . To those artist I forgot or never knew please forgive my ignorance and accept my thanks.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a nice post, and what great lists! Thanks!

Doret said...

Thanks, but I can't believe I forgot John Steptoe.

Anonymous said...

And Ezra Jack Keats!

There will always be one more, one that was forgotten@ There are those who only did one or two books, like "The Black Snowman" but they were such good books! I used to read all these to my children. Thanks for bringing up the memories!

Color Online said...

Great post!

stacy said...

I thought Ezra Jack Keats was white--that he saw a boy in his neighborhood playing in the snow and decided consciously to make his character someone who would live in his neighborhood.

Speaking of Pinkneys, while I like Jerry Pinkney's work, I really *love* his son Brian's work. I love the mediums he uses--the scratchboard really was fascinating when I was studying Brian's work for a picturebook class. I had no idea how much work goes into simply preparing the board (scratchboard is much like woodcarving, except that he starts with a special kind of board and layers paints or gauche (?) and then works in negative space--it's amazing and I'm not really doing it justice).

But Jerry definitely paved the way, and his very talented family (including by marriage, Andrea Davis-Pinkney) has made some great contributions to children's literature collectively.

Doret said...

I always find it interesting when illustrators talk about the process. Stacy, thanks for stopping by

mayra lazara dole said...

thanks for listing these artists, Doret. i can't imagine what it was like 45 years ago, either... it's so hard now!
you're an incredible resourse and someone so appreciative of literature. GRACIAS!

Doret said...

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