Kid Artists, by David Stabler/Illustrated by Doogie Horner (Aug. 2016, Quirk Books), $13.95, ISBN: 9781594748967
Recommended for ages 8-12
The third outing in Stabler and Horner’s “Kid” series, following Kid Presidents and Kid Athletes, introduces kids to artists. Before the museum exhibitions, every artist was a kid, shaped by his or her circumstances. Kid Artists organizes 17 artist profiles into three sections: Call of the Wild, focusing on artists who grew up with a love of the outdoors; It’s a Hard-Knock Life, featuring artists who overcame obstacles like discrimination, war, poverty, and extreme shyness; and Practice Makes Perfect, where artists who had a teacher, friend, or family member cheering them on to practice, perfect, and succeed.
There are funny stories and inspirational stories, all illustrated in full-color. We learn that Claude Monet had a lucrative caricature business as a kid, and that Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Medusa, on a shield was so terrifying that his father almost ran away from it! Kids will meet artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose graffiti art on the streets of New York garnered them fame, and Jacob Lawrence, whose Migration Series tells the story of the migration of African-American families from the rural, southern United States up north, in search of a better life.
I enjoy this series, because it introduces kids to a wide range of people under one umbrella term. They’ll be exposed to new people, cultures, and ideas, in a kid-friendly atmosphere with a bite-sized biography that shows them that no only do we all start out as kids, but we all have challenges to overcome.