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By Javaka Steptoe
Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: African American Heritage, Social Studies: Biographies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Guidance/Health: Emotions
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.
Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal
Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
★ “Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation.” —The Horn Book
★ “Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the ‘sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL’ paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist’s energy and mystery. Stellar bookmaking—a riveting portrait of a young artist. ” —Kirkus
★ “Visually arresting and vibrantly narrated. ” —Publishers Weekly
★ “One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations…. Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.” —School Library Journal
“It takes an artist to display another artist. Had Basquiat chosen to create his own picture book autobiography, I don’t think he could have done a better job that what Radiant Child has accomplished here. Timely. Telling. Overdue.” —A Fuse #8 Production, an SLJ blog
"Radiant Child," a biography for children about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, just won the prestigious 2017 Caldecott Medal. The books author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, joins us to demonstrate his art and talk about Basquiat. Ask him questions in the comments, and Maria Russo will ask some too.
Posted by The New York Times Books on Tuesday, February 7, 2017