This inspired collaboration adds a heightened poetic dimension to readers’ understanding of Chagall’s life and art.



U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Lewis and the prolific Yolen team up for a celebratory picture-book biography in verse of the 20th century painter and designer Marc Chagall (1887-1985) that may quickly become a favorite of art-loving families and museum docents.

This handsome book is amply illustrated with archival photos, spot art from Chagall’s oeuvre and, most importantly, 14 full-color reproductions of Chagall’s affecting, mystical, sometimes surreal re-imaginings of his Jewish childhood in Eastern Europe, paintings that swell with touching imagery of joy, loss and beauty. Most of the book’s two-page spreads include an evocative poem (by either Lewis or Yolen) inspired by or reflecting upon the painting on the  facing page. These spreads also feature informative, telling biographical briefs that anchor the art and beautifully crafted poetry to Chagall’s long, incident-rich life and artistic career. Details about each painting’s size, medium, date and provenance also add interest. Chagall’s work is represented in over 40 museums in North America, and teachers and parents often find his work particularly accessible and appealing to children who readily and eagerly decode his imagery, making this book useful as well is beautiful.

This inspired collaboration adds a heightened poetic dimension to readers’ understanding of Chagall’s life and art. (Picture book/poetry/biography. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56846-211-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Rich, layered, and heart-rending.


First-generation Persian American Ava is looking forward to spending the summer before ninth grade surfing and hanging out with her friends.

These hopes are dashed when her single mother, a surgeon at the local hospital, signs her up to volunteer there, hoping this will inspire Ava to follow in her footsteps. In 1980s Southern California, Ava struggles with being a part of two cultures while feeling like an outsider in both. These feelings are compounded by her father’s absence and her OCD. Music, surfing, and her friendship with neighbor Phoenix, a boy who is cued as White, provide a sense of belonging. When Phoenix’s cancer comes back, Ava’s left feeling adrift. Processing her feelings through music empowers Ava and gives her a new understanding of home and the connections she shares with others. Raw and powerful, this free verse novel honestly explores issues of identity, culture, grief, and hope. Ava’s straightforward narration is sparse yet still manages to convey a lyrical sensibility: “I forget my body. / I forget the dread. / I forget the sweat. / I forget / who I have been and who left. / I only feel now o’clock. / Each note’s a stitch. / I’m a cut, getting mended.”Ava’s journey is full of swells and surges, but like a true surfer, she realizes the joy is in taking the ride. Delicate, precise spot art enhances the text.

Rich, layered, and heart-rending. (lyrics, mixtape tracks, information about Rumi, endnotes) (Verse novel. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-58-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



Self-taught painter Monceaux (Jazz: My Music, My People, 1994) follows up his first book with this collection of African- American and Native American figures from the American West. He has, again, created his own form for historical and biographical portraiture, combining individual profiles and textual elements into a visually stirring montage. As with Faith Ringgold’s story quilts, this primitive style incorporates collage (bits of buttons, bells, ribbons, lace, feathers), and crowns each figure with hastily scribbled biographical notes. The legendary Pocahontas, Geronimo, and Bill Pickett appear alongside lesser-known people who were cowboys, marshals, soldiers, lawyers, artists, nurses, outlaws, and stagecoach drivers of the Old West. Arranged in loose categories (“Fur Trade,” “Buffalo Soldiers,” “Women,” etc.), the portraits are accompanied by brief biographical sketches that tantalize readers, and leave them wanting to know more. To that end, extensive notes on sources and further reading is included. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-30770-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet