A love of art and dreams of a life beyond that of his sharecropper parents allowed Benny Andrews to escape the poverty and social injustices of the rural south and become a groundbreaking visual artist, author, activist, and teacher who is widely considered to be one of the most important African-American painters of the twentieth century. This moving picture book, gorgeously illustrated with Andrews' own work, tells his story.
Benny Andrews loved to draw. He drew his nine brothers and sisters, and his parents. He drew the red earth of the fields where they all worked, the hot sun that beat down, and the rows and rows of crops. As Benny hauled buckets of water, he made pictures in his head. And he dreamed of a better life—something beyond the segregation, the backbreaking labor, and the limited opportunities of his world.
Benny’s dreams took him far from the rural Georgia of his childhood. He became one of the most important African American painters of the twentieth century, and he opened doors for other artists of color. His story will inspire budding young artists to work hard and follow their dreams.
"There's no better illustrator for this narrative than Andrews himself."
"[Andrews'] images blend whimsical elements—tree leaves resemble globular mosaic glasswork in one scene—with stark depictions of struggle, emphasizing his efforts to find intersections between creativity and social justice."
* "This singular biography refocuses attention on the struggle for social justice through the extraordinary visions of this singular painter—every illustration is the artist's own."
—Kirkus, starred review
"The narrative is expertly crafted around original Andrews paintings, which are notable for their focus on autobiographical elements and people’s experiences of prejudice as well as for the expressionistic stylization of figures."
—Horn Book Magazine
"Photographs of the artist in his studio open and close the book. His artwork and his story will inspire children to both "draw what they see" and live out their dreams."
* "A powerful work about an influential artist and activist."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The illustrations are taken from Andrews’ paintings, and the full-bleed images that fill the lanky pages and sometimes double-page spreads showcase Andrews’ figural strengths, folkloric echoes, and eye for composition...they effectively convey the way Andrews drew on his life and surroundings for his art."
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