A review of Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, a stunning new picture book biography by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise. Enter the giveaway below to win one of three full classroom sets of the book!
Note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Also, I partnered with The Children’s Book Review and the author Jeanne Walker Harvey to bring you this review and giveaway. Review opinions are 100% my own.
I’m in the business of reviewing books, which over the years has instilled in me a healthy appreciation for the difficult work it is to write a book. I am, however, convinced that Non-Fiction Picture Book Biographies are the biggest challenge of all.
Authors and illustrators of picture book biographies must necessarily walk a fine line between relaying information and entertaining young readers. Moreover, the subject is normally an adult that the author and illustrator must present to children as someone they should learn from and perhaps even emulate in their own lives.
It’s a weighty, nuanced task, which is why when I come across a book like Ablaze With Color (written for ages 4 to 8), I’m ready to bow down in awe of what the author and illustrator have accomplished. Ablaze With Color is an absolutely stunning picture book biography!
About Ablaze With Color
Ablaze With Color tells the inspiring and colorful story of painter Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891 – 1978). Growing up in Georgia in the early 1900’s, Alma’s parents filled their home with color and creativity, but the racial injustices they faced there pushed them to Washington DC, where Alma spent the rest of her life.
Alma Thomas was the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City. Her painting, titled Resurrections, was also the first artwork by a Black woman to be added to the White House permanent collection.
But, as the book illustrates so beautifully, Alma Thomas deserves to be honored for more than just her incredible art and creativity. For most of her life, Alma worked tirelessly as an educator to increase art access for the Black students in her community. In fact, she was almost seventy years old before she really began to focus on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.
In addition to telling Alma’s fascinating story, the end of the book includes a kid-friendly timeline, fun to read notes from the author and illustrator, as well as a useful source list to find museum websites featuring Alma Thomas.
Review of Ablaze With Color
This is one of those rare books about an artist that makes you want to immediately search out their art and see everything they’ve created. Best of all, it’s very kid friendly – both the text and the illustrations.
It’s also a perfect example of a picture book in which the author’s text and the illustrator’s art pair perfectly to tell a complete story. Harvey uses a rich, poetic voice as she narrates Alma’s life story, making it both easy and enjoyable for children to follow along. Likewise, Wise’s bright and vivid illustrations pay beautiful homage to Alma’s own work and are sure to enthrall both children and adults.
Alma Thomas blazed a colorful trail in her lifetime and this book, Ablaze With Color, is a beautiful and uplifting account of her incredible contributions to art, racial equality, and education. Highly Recommend!
View Ablaze With Color on Amazon | Publisher: HarperCollins | Ages 4 – 8 | 40 Pages | Release Date 2/22/2022
Learn more about the author Jeanne Walker Harvey at www.jeanneharvey.com
Learn more about the illustrator Loveis Wise at www.loveiswise.com
Enter the Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win a classroom set of the picture book Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas!
Three (3) winners receive:
A classroom set of Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, autographed and personalized for each student and the teacher by Jeanne Walker Harvey (no more than 30 books per set).
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