If you’re looking for some fresh titles to impress the young readers in your life (while teaching them about art history), look no further than the books of Jeanette Winter. Winter’s picture books, which tell the stories of artists, architects, historical figures, and folks who’ve striven to make a difference in the world, make for some great choices to add to your student’s summer reading list.
As far as art and art-historical subjects go, Winter has quite the selection. Her books tend to focus on one artist, and make their work and life story relevant to kids. Henri’s Scissors focuses on Matisse’s life, specifically his beloved cutouts. Matisse (featured in our kindergarten, first-, third-, and fourth-grade curriculum) created his cutouts later in life when confined to a wheelchair, and the picture book presents his work in a way that’s noted as “moving and inspirational.” My Name is Georgia tells of how Georgia O’Keeffe (featured in our first-, second-, and third-grade curriculum) never compromised her artistic vision, and Diego explores Diego Rivera’s (featured in our first-, third-, and fourth-grade curriculum) love for the people of Mexico (and how that manifested itself in his art.
Winter also isn’t afraid to shy away from architecture, as she shows in The World Is Not A Rectangle. This newer title chronicles famed architect Zaha Hadid’s journey of overcoming adversity, both as a Muslim Iraqi woman and an architect with unconventional designs, to become an international star. Winter illuminates Hadid’s signature style in her bright, clear, and entertaining illustrations.
Aside from artists, Winter also writes about other important figures as varied as Jane Goodall, Malala Yousafzai, and the Williams sisters. She also writes stories about kids and adults struggling against obstacles caused by current or recent events, which are based on true stories. Titles in this category include The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, and many more. These tales all serve to teach kids about global isses that knowledge, peace, education, etc. are just as important to people worldwide as they are in America–no matter their location, race, gender, or economic status. And they’re all illustrated beautifully to better reinforce their message, too.
So if you’re looking for a new title for the young reader in your life, check the shelves for Jeanette Winter’s books in your local bookstore and library!
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