Five picture books for #fivewomenartists

Can you name five women artists? It's surprisingly difficult for most people, even more so if you leave out the big three: Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keeffe. This March, for Women's History Month, the National Museum for Women in the Arts (NMWA) is leading a social media campaign to share stories of women artists using the hashtag #fivewomenartists. I'm doing my part by sharing this list of five great picture books about women artists. Not including Cassatt, Kahlo, or O'Keeffe, although there are some gorgeous picture books about them, too!

 Louise Bourgeois,  M is for Mother , 1998, pen and ink with colored pencil and graphite, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Louise Bourgeois, M is for Mother, 1998, pen and ink with colored pencil and graphite, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Abrams, 2016). As a child,  20th-century artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois learned to weave and repair tapestries alongside her mother in the family's tapestry restoration workshop. This experience inspired some of her most powerful works, including a series of steel spider sculptures--the largest of which is called Maman.

Four Pictures by Emily Carr by Nicolas Debon (Groundwood, 2003). Emily Carr (1871-1945) is one of Canada's most renowned artists; her work is now exhibited with and compared to Kahlo's and O'Keeffe's. In this graphic novel, Debon traces Carr's life story through four of her best paintings (also reproduced here).

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Henry Holt, 2010). I interviewed Margarita about this book when it first came out six years ago, and I still love it. Told in the voice of the young Maria Merian, 17th-century Dutch artist and naturalist.

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Charlotte Voake (Shwartz and Wade, 2016). Spoiler alert: the guinea pig DIES. But if you can get past that, this is a charming book, and the picture-letter format is similar to how Beatrix Potter's own early stories were written. There's even a P.S. (the author's note). 

Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron by Susan Goldman Rubin; illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick, 2014) AND Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky; illustrated by Lisa Congdon (Cameron + Company, 2012). Not one but two picture book biographies of photographers, Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815-79) and Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976). 

There. Now if anyone should ask you to name five women artists, you're all set (and then some--don't forget the illustrators of these books). Of course, you probably already were. Who's on your list?

Winnie and Honors

Casual Caldecott turned into quite a party! We had 22 people--kids and parents--gather to read, visit, and vote on a dozen of the year's best, most buzzed-about picture books. We weren't able to have a book-by-book discussion prior to voting, but the results sorted themselves out nicely nonetheless. We named five honor books (listed in alphabetical order by title): 

And we had a clear winner:

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick; illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Finding Winnie is my favorite, too (sometimes my favorite doesn't even get an Honor at our house Caldecott: this was a first!). Congratulations to Sophie Blackall from all of us!

Your Batchelder Reading List

I'm back as promised with a sampling of children's books in translation published in 2015. Today I'm looking at American publishers, because those are the ones eligible for the Batchelder award, but I should note (again) that Canadian publishers Groundwood Books and Kids Can Press also publish a fair amount of translated books, as do Pushkin Children's Books in the UK and Gecko Press in New Zealand (and lots of others)--I'll get to those next time!

Let's start with a title or two from each of the smaller publishing houses. I've included original publication information where I have it.

I Am a Bear by Jean-Francois Dumont, translated by Leslie Mathews (Eerdman's Books for Young Readers, 2015). Originally published in France in 2010 under the title Je Suis Un Ours.

The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop by Pierdomenico Baccalario, illustrated by Simona Mulazzari and translated by Alessandro Gatti (Enchanted Lion Books, 2015). Originally published in Italy in 2013 as Storia di Goccia e Fiocco.

The World in a Second by Isabel Minhós Martins, illustrated by Bernardo Carvalho and translated by Lyn Miller-Lachmann. Originally published in Portugal in 2008 as O mundo num segundo.

Farewell Floppy by Benjamin Chaud (Chronicle Books, 2015). No translator credited. Originally published in France in 2009 as Adieu Chaussette.

Now on to graphic novels!

Omaha Beach on D-Day: June 6, 1944 with One of the World's Iconic Photographers. Photographs by Robert Capa. Story by Jean-David Morvan and Séverine Tréfouël. Design by Dominique Bertail. English translation by Edward Gauvin. First Second, 2015. Originally published in France, 2014.

First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson by Simon Schwartz; translated by Laura Watkinson (Graphic Universe, 2015). Originally published in 2012 as Packeis.

The Other Side of the Wall by Simon Schwartz; translated by Laura Watkinson (Graphic Universe, 2015). Originally published in 2009 as drüben!

Finally, one of the few middle-grade novels I found in my belated search for Batchelder-eligible books: You Can't See the Elephants by Susan Kreller, translated by Elizabeth Gaffney (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2015). Originally published in German in 2012 under the title Elefanten sieht man nicht. Unusually, the translator is both credited on the cover and blurbed on the back ("Praise for Translator Elizabeth Gaffney"), although it turns out that the praise is for Gaffney's own novels; this is her first translation for children. You Can't See the Elephants is already an international award winner (this is also noted on the cover). I find it problematic that the American edition seems to have moved the setting of the story from Germany to the United States, and wonder why--the novel still feels very European, and the story doesn't work quite as well in an American setting. Still, a powerful book.

There's your reading list! Please do let me know if I've missed something you loved. Thanks!