Four Painted Words Artists Make New York Times List of Five Iconic African American Biographies for Kids
February 13, 2017
The New York Times recently published an article entitled “Five Iconic African-American Biographies for Kids.” Three out of five of these recommended picture books were written and/or illustrated by artists from Painted Words! The recommended titles included Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born, The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, and The Youngest Marcher.
Muhammad Ali, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison, tells the story of the incident that set a young Ali (then called Cassius Clay) onto his boxing career. Times described it as a, “playful, dynamic look at the champion’s quest for greatness.” They praised Frank for “[giving] the art a joyful zing and a serious yet eminently kid-friendly vibe.” Muhammad Ali can be purchased here.
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Liz Zunon, is the biography of actress, singer, and civil rights activist Lena Horne. The New York Times writes, “The book’s sizzling clarity recalls Horne’s own voice,” and praises Liz’s illustrations, writing, “Zunon…plays with shadow and light to suggest the hidden depths of a very public life.” The Legendary Miss Lena Horne can be purchased here.
The Youngest Marcher, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, reveals the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest known marcher to be arrested in the Birmingham civil rights protests of the ’60s. The Times writes, “Levinson and Newton keep her story bright and snappy, emphasizing the girl’s eagerness to make a difference and her proud place in her community.” The Youngest Marcher can be purchased online here.
You can find the New York Times full list of recommended black history titles here.
Liz Zunon, Shadra Strickland, and Vanessa Newton on Time for Kids’ List of Recommended Black History Month Books
February 9, 2017
In honor of Black History Month, Time for Kids compiled a list of eight new children’s books that honor black history and interviewed the authors and illustrators of these recommended picture books. TFK’s article was also featured on Essence.com. Three books that were illustrated by Painted Words artists made the list!
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Liz Zunon, tells the life story of singer, actress, and civil rights activist Lena Horne. TFK interviewed the author, and she said that she hopes that Lena’s story can be “can be both an inspiration and a guide to overcoming obstacles.” The Legendary Lena Horne can be purchased here.
The Youngest Marcher, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, is the true story of the youngest known marcher in the Birmingham civil rights protests. Cynthia Levinson told TFK, “The story is also about knowing in your heart what is right and facing down your fear.” The Youngest Marcher can be purchased here.
2017 is the 50th anniversary of landmark civil rights case, “Loving Vs. Virginia,” which made it legal for people of different races to marry. The documentary picture book Loving Vs. Virginia, written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Shadra Strickland, tells the story of this famous case. TFK interviewed Shadra, and she told TFK, “It’s empowering to read about normal people who [are] able to find great courage and overcome challenges in life.” Loving Vs. Virginia can be purchased here.
CBC’s Hot Off the Press Includes Books from Liz Zunon, Gene Barretta, Frank Morrison, and Vanessa B Newton
Janaury 4, 2017
The Children’s Book Council published a list of books it calls “Hot Off the Press,” a collection recently released and forthcoming picture books that they anticipate becoming bestsellers, and four of our authors/illustrators had books included on this list!
In the Featured Books section is forthcoming The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Liz Zunon. The Legendary Miss Lena Horne tells the story of pioneering actress, singer, and civil rights activist Lena Horne. The picture book will be published later this month and can be pre-ordered online here.
In the More Titles section is The Youngest Marcher, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. The Youngest Marcher is based on the true story of Audrey Faye, the youngest marcher to be arrested in the Birmingham civil rights protests. It comes out later this month and can be ordered online here.
Also included in this section is Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison. Muhammad Ali is the story of how the famous heavyweight boxer first got his start in boxing. This picture book was released today! It can be ordered online here.
Make sure to keep an eye on these books to see if the CBC’s predictions are right!
Two Great New Reviews for The Youngest Marcher, Illus. by Vanessa B. Newton
December 13, 2016
Coming out this upcoming January, The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa B Newton, tells the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest marcher known to be arrested in the Birmingham civil rights protests of the 1960s. This new picture book has received great reviews from both Publishers Weekly and The School Library Journal.
Publishers Weekly praised the picture book’s portrayal of the bravery of the marchers and wrote, “Newton’s bright, digitally assembled collages adeptly highlight the danger of the situation…while emphasizing the power of the marchers’ collective efforts to push back against injustice.” Read the full review here.
The School Library Journal commented on The Youngest Marcher‘s detailed inclusion of source material about the marches and praised the way that Vanessa’s illustrations worked to show the contrast between an idealized expectation of marches and the actual discomfort of the experience, writing that, “Digital collage illustrations show a young, pigtailed Audrey and her family mostly smiling and happy leading up to the march…Pictures and words combine to depict the discomfort of Hendricks’s actual experience.”
You can preorder The Youngest Marcher online here.
First Review for The Youngest Marcher, illus. by Vanessa B. Newton, From Kirkus
October 19, 2016
The Youngest Marcher, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, won’t be published until January of 2017. But it already has its first review, from Kirkus!
The historically based picture book tells the story of Audrey, the youngest protester in the Birmingham civil rights protests. After hearing the adults and civil rights activists in her community, including Martin Luther King, discuss civil rights injustices, Audrey knows what she must do and is unafraid of the consequences…even of being arrested! Kirkus praises the way Levinson “carefully tailors her text to a level suitable for a younger audience,” and they write that Vanessa’s “digital illustrations burst with color against a white background.”