Bill Traylor’s story is the stuff of legend: he was born into slavery in Alabama, lived most of his life as a sharecropper, and started drawing at the age of eighty-five, while living homeless in Montgomery, Alabama. His drawings once decorated a street corner; now he’s known as one of America’s most important folk artists.
You can learn more about Traylor’s life story in our picture book biography, It Jes’ Happened, but there’s nothing like seeing Traylor’s artwork in person. Most of it is concentrated at a few museums in the southeast, but luckily, right now there’s a traveling exhibition making its way around the US with over 60 of Traylor’s works. The paintings, borrowed from permanent collections at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, represent some of the best examples of Traylor’s unique folk art style. Here’s where the exhibit will be:
Just one week until the release of Kimberly Pauley’s Cat Girl’s Day Off! In celebration, Cat Girl’s star celebrity blogger Easton West has commandeered the Lee & Low Blog kindly volunteered to share her thoughts on the book, her cat, Ty McKenzie’s underwear, and what it’s like being kidnapped by a crazy, psycopathic—well, let’s not give anything away…
Hello there my little poppets! O, Easton, you ask, whatever are you doing here? This isn’t your home-away-from-home-on-the-web where I go for all the celebrity news I can handle. This is the blog of a publisher. They do serious things here. They don’t gossip. They don’t talk about the color of Ty McKenzie’s underwear (red, dearies, in case you were wondering and no, I’m not going to tell you how I know that!).
It’s Black History Month, and that means another giveaway from Lee & Low Books! We’re giving away three sets of three books featuring African Americans, and the contest will run through February 29, 2012.
You may have noticed that the winners won’t get their books until after Black History Month. We think Black History Month is important, but black history is part of American History, and shouldn’t get relegated to one month out of the year. So enter below to win three great books to enjoy all year long!
Here’s how it works:
Author Glenda Armand (Love Twelve Miles Long) gave us food for thought in her BookTalk when we asked her if she thought her book could only be used during Black History Month. Here is her response:
“I think it can be read at any time of year: it is a story about mother-child relationships, about slavery, about American history, and about a great statesman. It is a story about family and tradition. And it’s a bedtime story.
It’s Native American Heritage month, and do we ever have recommendations for you! You can go to our site and see all our Native American titles, but we’re going to highlight a couple of them today.
Sky Dancers is a majestic story of the Mohawk steal workers who built the skyscrapers of New York City, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. On weekends, John Cloud lives with his parents on the reservation in upstate New York, but during the week his father is off in the city. When his mother takes him to New York, John Cloud is proud to see his father high above the city on a crossbeam of the Empire State Building. The Art Deco-influenced art and John Cloud’s independent mind make this book stand as tall as a skyscraper.
Amazing Faces, one of our new spring books, is a collection of poems celebrating the amazing people and faces that surround us every day. We asked the poets to share the stories behind their poems. Here are some of their responses:
Jane Yolen, “Karate Kid”
A number of years ago, Lee Bennett Hopkins asked me to write a poem for a sports anthology. “How about karate?” I said. There is a dojo near my house. I had some friends who had kids in karate and a granddaughter who was just starting into the martial arts. Also, I find some of the Chinese martial arts movies fascinating in a balletic sort of way.
And so I wrote “Karate Kid.” It has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes (if a writer is very lucky) that happens.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “Amazing Face”
I am, and will always be, fascinated by children. Especially very young children. I look at them and a million dreams and possibilities run through my mind: the person they will become, the journeys they’ll take, the hobbies they’ll choose, the crafts they’ll learn, the billowed joys they will experience, the heartache and heartbreak they will ultimately and unfortunately experience too. I want each child on this Earth to know they are loved by someone, that they are valued, and that they are truly and downright amazing. I hope my poem sends this message, whoever is listening.
White Americans tend to raise children in nuclear families—just parents and kids—but in many cultures and many immigrant groups, extended families are deeply involved. Only One Year, one of our new Spring books, is about a Chinese American family sending their two-year-old boy to live for a year in China, with his grandparents and surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. In a new BookTalk, author Andrea Cheng talks about the families who inspired her to write this book, as well as cultural differences, siblings, and her own family.