An unusual, engaging historical biography of a California artist.



A beautifully illustrated book by a former teacher that sheds light on the intriguing life of a pioneer woman.

Passero’s debut tells the little-known story of Clara Mason Fox, an artist and poet who led a rather adventurous, exciting life. Fox, the author’s husband’s ancestor, was a member of a pioneer family who moved to California in 1887. She later traveled to New York to attend art school and became a painter and poet, capturing some early images of Laguna Beach and Orange County. Passero’s project was spurred by the discovery of a box in a family attic, and it’s a labor of love that sheds light on a fascinating time in American history. She describes her extensive research in her quest to discover as much about Fox as she could. The author worked as a teacher for many years and this book seems to be aimed in part at younger readers; as a result, she weaves in sentences such as “Imagine what it was like not having any of these [modern] conveniences” to help bring the setting to life. Her inclusion of some of Fox’s paintings and sketches also works very well, resulting in an unusual combination of text and visual art that illustrates Fox’s artistic talents. The author sometimes fleshes out historical context and descriptions of early California landscapes at the expense of Fox’s story, and readers may find themselves wanting to know more about this pioneer woman’s inner life. That said, the book provides a good jumping-off point for exploring both Fox’s life and the history of the state she loved so much. Passero reveals that local California organizations have recently shown interest in Fox’s work and that some of Fox’s paintings will be exhibited at the Huntington Library in San Marino. She says that she hopes to continue generating interest in Fox’s life and work, and with this book, she seems to be doing a great job of making that happen.

An unusual, engaging historical biography of a California artist.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62652-008-0

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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