The 49th NAACP Image Awards are coming soon. The NAACP Image Award is an awards ceremony to honor the work of artists of color in genres spanning cinema, music, and literature, held each year on MLK’s birthday. This year, two books illustrated by Painted Words’s artists have been nominated! In the “Outstanding Literary Work – Children” category is The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. In the “Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens” is Clayton Byrd Goes Underground written by Rita Williams-Garcia and illustrated by Frank Morrison. Congratulations! The full list of nominees for the NAACP Image Award is available here. The Youngest Marcher can be purchased here and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is available for purchase here.
The New York Public Library recently released a selection of their favorite kids books of the year. They call every book on this list “outstanding.” Five of the books included on their extensive list were written or illustrated by one of Painted Words’s authors or artists! If You Were the Moon by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance written by Nikki Grimes with illustration contributed by Shadra Strickland, Frank Morrison, and Liz Zunon Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Josée Masse Congratulations to all our talented artists! Check out the full list of the NYPL’s recommended books here.
Publishers Weekly shared a starred review of upcoming memoir March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine. Written by Melba Pattillo Beals and illustrated by Frank Morrison, March Forward is Beals’s powerful memoir of her childhood and her experiences being one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Arkansas schools in the Civil Rights Era. Publishers Weekly praised the “visceral and vital” writing and unflinching depiction of traumatic, racial violence that Beals witnessed and experienced. They call it, “A no-holds-barred reflection of the physical and psychological toll that prejudice, discrimination, and hate take on a young life.” Publishers Weekly’s full starred review is available here. March Forward, Girl is coming out January 2018 and can be pre-ordered here.
The moon, the constant companion of the night sky, is full of wonder for children and adults alike. The New York Times recently shared a review of several newly released children’s books with the theme of the mysterious moon. Included on this list was La La La: A Story of Hope, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim. The Times immediately remarked on the “endearing” protagonist of the picture book and her “elastic expressions.” They also praised the unique, almost wordless narration, filled with the song of the protagonist to the moon. They had high praise for Jaime’s illustrations, writing, “Kim…has created sumptuous images, especially several pages awash in deep, rich purples, that suggest an expansive dreamscape where anything is possible. At the same time, DiCamillo’s barely-there text gives the art space to breathe, leaving room for children to fill in the silences with their own boundless imaginations.” The New York Times’s full review is available here. La La La: A Story of Hope can be purchased online here.
Booklist recently shared an article interviewing author and editor Melissa Stewart on the importance of expository nonfiction. Stewart discussed what she felt made a good work of expository literature, how it differs from fiction or from narrative nonfiction, and why this underappreciated genre is so valuable for children. She also shared some children’s literature that she thinks are great examples of expository literature – including Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta. Neo Leo was included as a great example of the compare and contrast format. Booklist wrote, “Colorful cartoon watercolors, clear and concise text, and an ingenious format that reinforces the compare-and-contrast text structure highlight how the ideas recorded in da Vinci’s notebooks foreshadowed…modern inventions.” The full article from Booklist is available on their website here. Neo Leo is available for purchase here.
Coming out January 2018, Let the Children March is already bringing in positive reviews. Written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, this inspiring picture book tells the story of the Children’s Crusades. In 1960s Birmingham, hundreds of children and adolescents marched in protest of segregation. Many were harassed, water hosed, and even arrested. The Horn Book Magazine and the School Library Journal (SLJ) both positively reviewed Let the Children March, and the SLJ awarded it a starred review! The Horn Book Magazine praised “the strong, poetic text” and the unflinching depiction of the brutality the young protesters faced. They also praised Frank’s illustrations, writing that Frank’s “remarkable oil paintings…[are] a vibrant representation of the determination and courage of the civil rights movement.” The Horn Book Magazine’s full review is available in their November/December issue. The School Library Journal wrote a starred review of Let the Children March. The SLJ appreciated the text’s ability to provoke important conversations in the modern day about racism and civil rights. They also had nothing but good to say about Frank’s art, writing, “The experiences of segregation are sensitively depicted by Morrison…The defiance, determination, and passion comes through clearly on the faces of the figures.” In conclusion, […]