Written by: Angela Johnson
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
For ages: 3 years and up
Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Art, Artist, Self-Expression, Independent Thought.
Summary: This sweet and whimsical book is all about Lily Brown and how she paints. When painting, Lily is captivated and sent into another universe where her imagination makes her soar through the solar system, see tea-drinking trees, and faces on fruit. When Lily paints, she lives in a magical land and can listen to the beach breezes and paint the wind or imagine a world where people walk upside down. She ends the day thinking about her family, and how happy she is when they are around.
This is truly such a sweet book. The illustrations are Lily’s paintings on some pages, and paintings of Lily on others. Something that is also worthy of noting about the book is that the family of color is shown only happy and loving each other. Sometimes, critiques arise of books that characters of color must reconcile with past human rights abuses or enslavement within the story arc. While this is crucial and important in books, it is also important for there to be characters simply enjoying their lives and supporting each other.
- What does your imagination show you?
- What is special about your family?
- How do you make art?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Explore different mediums of art, and decide on your favorite! Is it painting like Lily, maybe drawing, or sculpting with clay?
- Who is an artist that does the style of art that is your favorite? We love Wangechi Mutu, Marlena Myles, Kehinde Wiley, Kenojuak Ashevak, and we found this list incredible also! Let’s be real here, folks, we could list tons and tons more fantastic artists! If you have love for an artist and we missed them (which is likely) leave a comment below with their name and your favorite work by them!
- We found this article to be a great resource for exploring First Nations artists and community involvement!
- Write your own story about your family, and the things you do together. What is a special memory you keep about them, like how Lily’s little brother holds her hand until he falls asleep?
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Angela Johnson is an award winning American children’s book and poetry author with over 40 books to her credit. She began her writing career in 1989 with the publication of a picture book called “Tell Me a Story, Mama” which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award in 1991. She has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels “The First Part Last (2004),” “Heaven (1999),” and “Toning the Sweep” (1994).”The First Part Last” was also the recipient of the Michael L Printz Award.“When I Am Old With You” was an Honor Book in 1990 and named an American Library Association Notable Book. “The Other Side, The Shorter Poems” was also selected as a Coretta Scott King Honor book in 1998. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1961, she grew up in Alabama and Ohio. She lives in Kent, Ohio.
E.B. Lewis is the illustrator of a numerous books for children including Talkin’ About Bessie (a 2003 Coretta Scott King Award winner), The Bat Boy and His Violin (a Coretta Scott King Honor book), Down the Road (a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association), and The Other Side (a Notable Book for Language Arts). The Coretta Scott King Award is the premier award honoring African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.
Inspired by two artist uncles, as early as the third grade, Lewis displayed artistic promise. Beginning in the sixth grade, he attended the Saturday Morning Art League and studied with Clarence Wood. Lewis attended the Temple University Tyler School of Art, where, he discovered his medium of preference was watercolor.
During his four years at Temple, Lewis majored in Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Education. After graduating, he taught art in public schools for twelve years. Presently, E.B. teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He is also a member of The Society of Illustrators in New York City, and an artist member of Salamagundi Art Club of New York.