Ruth Asawa’s life emphasizes the values of perseverance and creativity in the face of extreme adversity.
During World War II, Ruth’s family is rounded up and sent to internment camps, separated from their farm where Ruth grew up and found her first artistic inspiration. Still, she finds opportunities to study art and develop her vision, work she continues in adulthood as she discovers how to bend wire and make “sculptures of wire and air”—one of her signature creations. Others include fountains in San Francisco and a park to commemorate the internment camps. Declarative, straightforward text takes readers through her life, lacking, though, any warmth and details that would have breathed life into the story of this visionary artist. Instead, well-researched information will serve as useful educational material, including the backmatter, which offers photos to complement the realistic illustrations, rendered in dark tones throughout the book. Ruth often appears in green amid seas of brown and gray clothing worn by the families in the internment camps, helping her to stand out. Descriptions of life in the camp are sparse, limited to one double-page spread that mentions art class but depicts barbed wire, lines, and barracks as well as interior accommodations that resemble a child’s room in a home.
A biography that seeks to illuminate the life of an artistic genius but offers instead an enumeration of details about her experiences. (author’s note, list of public sculpture) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)