Friday, March 23, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 17 Book Reviews

RADIANT CHILD by Javaka Steptoe

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat became well-known for his collage-style paintings during the 1980s. But, before he found fame and glory, he spent his time creating art. His mother is a big influence on, and supporter of, his love for art. She brings him art books to read and look at, gets down on the floor and draws with him, takes him to art exhibits, and shows him that art is all around him.

Jean-Michel decides to pursue his dream of being an artist. He leaves home when he is a teenager and goes to New York City. During the day, he stays with friends. At night, he roams the streets and sprays graffiti and writes poetry on downtown walls. Rather than get into trouble, his work catches the attention of the art galleries, when he is invited to have a show. He then goes on to become a well-known artist.

Author Javaka Steptoe includes some additional information at the back of the book about Jean-Michel.

THE BOOK OF MISTAKES by Corinna Luyken 

This is a wonderfully creative way for an illustrator to show how artwork can take on a life of its own. She starts with a head that has two eyes, one bigger than the other. That was a mistake. So, she tries to correct her mistake by making the smaller eye bigger, but she makes it too big, so she adds a pair of glasses. The neck and arms are drawn next. When the neck ends up looking too long, she adds a high lace collar. And, so it continues, as we see how the artist can change a mistake into a great finished drawing.
BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace

Ernie Barnes loved art from his childhood all the way through until his death. His mother nurtured his love for drawing and artwork, and his father nurtured his love for music. He didn't try out for his high school football team, but the football coach noticed his physique, and recruited him to the team, where he became a star player. From there, he went on to play in the American football League.

But Ernie's real love was art. When he wasn't actually on the field playing, he would sit on the sidelines and sketch what was happening on the field. He didn't really want to play football, but as a young black man in the segregated South, he didn't think he could make a living with his artwork.

After the last game of the 1964 season, Ernie quick the game. He didn't have any money, but he had an idea. Over the years he had produced dozens of drawings and paintings, many of them football-related. He decided to pitch his idea at a meeting for the owners of the AFL. He told them he wanted to "become the Official Artist for the American Football League." And, he did. His paintings now hang in museums in such places as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC.

SAM & EVA by Debbie Ridpath Ohi  

Sam starts drawing a picture of a velociraptor on the wall. Eva wants to draw, too, but Sam doesn't want her to join him. The two "battle" it out with markers, each drawing something to counteract what the other drew. Eva draws a marmot to balance out Sam's velociraptor. Sam doesn't like the marmot, so he has his velociraptor try to eat the marmot. Eva draws a big friend to protect the marmot. And, so it continues until Eva gets frustrated and doesn't want to draw anymore. Sam discovers it might not be so much fun to draw by himself.


Joseph Cornell became known for his ability to turn ordinary objects into wonderful creations. Author Candace Fleming tells Cornell's story by showing the reader how he started collecting things when he was a young boy. His motto was, "If I like it, I keep it."

He liked many, many different things, and they kept piling up. When they would no longer fit into his room, he was given space in the barn for his collections. After the collection grew and grew and grew, he started putting some of the things together to create new things. After a while, he had a whole new collection. He then opened the barn to show his family what he had done. That led to his career as an artist.

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