I don't read too many kids books these days, but when I saw this one I had to pick it up and read it. Which I did, fast. Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of my all time favorite artists, and his work and life story has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I was young. This book shows his art as it was, despite his tragically short life, vivid and explosive, a celebration of life and free-expression. Each line reads like a running poem across pages that paint snap-shots of his life in the style of own paintings. I'm really glad that Steptoe made this story available to children, as it presents an artist who managed hardship and sadness through art and ultimately self-actualized through his own creativity and inner radiance. — From Salvatore's Picks
Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.
About the Author
Javaka Steptoe is a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Illustrator award-winning artist, designer, and illustrator. His debut picture book, In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall, won the Coretta Scott King Award, and Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow (written by Gary Golio) received a Coretta Scott King Honor. He has also illustrated Do You Know What I'll Do? by Charlotte Zolotow, A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, Amiri and Odette: A Love Story by Walter Dean Myers, Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, and Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, which received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. He is also the author and illustrator of The Jones Family Express, as well as the Caldecott award-winning Radiant Child. Javaka invites you to visit his website at Javaka.com.
Praise for Radiant Child:
*"In this visually arresting and vibrantly narrated biography, Steptoe...emulates 1980s street art by layering paint, paper scraps, paint tubes, and photos on found-wood panels.... Steptoe downplays tragic elements, instead celebrating Basquiat's irreverance and brilliance."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
*"Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation."—The Horn Book (starred review)
*"One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography.... Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary."—School Library Journal (starred review)
* "This is a beautifully illustrated biography...[and] an excellent read aloud, especially in the art classroom."—School Library Connection (starred review)
* "A lively, engaging introduction to a one-of-a-kind artist perfect for art-loving kids.... An excellent read-aloud."—Booklist, starred review
"Vibrantly colored, humming with energy, Javaka Steptoe's paintings evoke the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat."—Virginian-Pilot
"Steptoe tells a complex story in simple child-appropriate language and illustrates it with paintings brimming with joy, sorrow and outsized inspiration."—Chicago Tribune
"Art need not be neat to be beautiful, a message underscored by this boldly beautiful bio of a 1980s phenom."—San Francisco Tribune