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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Artists from Around the World

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I recently read an article about how multiple art-focused field trips raised the scores of standardized tests. At a time when so many school districts are cutting the arts it is important to see the whole picture. Today I am going to share some books about artists from different countries around the world. We will start with Japan and Yayoi Kusama. The first book is Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity by Sarah Suzuki and illustrated by Ellen Weinstein. 


Have you heard of Yayoi Kusama? She is a Japanese woman who wanted to create art differently than the traditional Japanese ways. She came to America and began her work here. She is known for her dots. She saw everything in dots and tried to create the world covered in dots. This book tells the story of Kusama's life and art. At the end of the book the are photographs of her actual artwork. 
Yayoi Kusama - Ascension of Polkadots on the Trees
Yayoi Kusama's Ascension of Polka Dots on Trees photo by By Terence Ong (Own work)
 [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

This book is a great introduction to the artist sometimes considered the most popular artist in the world. I will admit I am not very knowledgeable about modern art, but find her art and view of the world interesting. The book is wonderful at introducing Yayoi Kusama and her view of the world and infinity. How do you see infinity?


Our next book is about the American artist, Joseph Cornell. His work is full of boxes of various items and more. The book is The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming and Gerard Dubois. This book shares about Joseph Cornell's childhood and his love of collecting random items. His art started in his displaying his ordinary items in different ways for his family in the barn. It is a wonderful tale about his own beginnings to his art. At the end of the book is a bit more about his adult life and his artwork. I love how it shows how a child discovered a way to use every day items as art and eventually became famous for it.


Next we have an artist from the United Kingdom and this book is an activity book. This book is part of the Meet the Artist series. It is Meet the Artist: David Hockney by Rose Blake. The book shares a bit about his life and more about his work. It also has various activities for the child to do to explore his art even more. 

The activities range from drawing, exploring color and getting kids to think about things like texture and more. 


Each activity pulls from David Hockney's own art and his explorations. He explored all sorts of styles of art and color and this book draws the child to explore on his or her own. 

This is a book to learn about David Hockney and explore art as well. 

Our final book takes us to India. It is The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chaud, a Changing India and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola. Nek Chaud grew up in a part of India that became Pakistan. He heard wonderful stories and loved the sites of his village. However that all changed when his family had to move because they were not Muslim. In Chandigarh Nek felt like he didn't belong. He missed the sites of the village. The women carrying the jugs, the streams and more. Secretly he gathered broken pieces of the village life he found on the streets. He built a secret kingdom on government land. The kingdom had the stories of his childhood as well as the sites of his village. He kept it secret until the government discovered it and wanted to tear it down. The people wanted to see his secret kingdom and saved his kingdom. 
The book has a wonderful pull out section so you can see photographs of his actual secret village spread on four pages. It is amazing. Then there is an Author's Note sharing more of Nek Chand's life. It is truly beautiful and interesting to see.

I hope you will add a little art to your bookshelves with these wonderful books about amazing artists who I will admit I did not know about until reading the books.