A lyrical picture-book introduction to the life of a feminist artistic genius.

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

THE ART & LIFE OF AMRITA SHER-GIL

From the Amazing Women series , Vol. 3

Born to a Hungarian mother and an Indian father, Amrita Sher-Gil spent her early childhood in her mother’s homeland, creating fanciful art inspired by the world around her.

When she was 8, the family moved to India, where her art matured considerably. Noticing her talent, her family insisted that she take formal lessons to hone her craft. At first, Amrita obliged, but soon she chafed against the restrictions and the structure, preferring to rely instead on her own instincts and imagination. Following her own path, Amrita created art that blended Eastern and Western traditions and that celebrated womanhood. Eventually, her family returned to Europe specifically so Amrita could study art in Paris. Although she learned a great deal, after a few years, Amrita found Europe stifling, and she returned to India. There, her practice blossomed as she pioneered new visual traditions, pushing the boundaries of the Western-centric artistic world. Unfortunately, her genius was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 28. This lyrical picture-book biography not only celebrates Sher-Gil’s rebellious brilliance, it also frankly examines the challenges and opportunities presented by having a mixed heritage. While much of Sher-Gil’s life and work involved highly adult themes, this book addresses these issues in a child-friendly manner without hiding the truth. The innovative illustrations include more than a few touches of surrealism to evoke the inner life of the artist and present at least one topless female figure, reflecting Sher-Gil’s style.

A lyrical picture-book introduction to the life of a feminist artistic genius. (biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7342259-4-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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