February 4, 2013

Book Wisdom, February 4th 2013, Book of the Month, New Voices Award, Honor

IT JES' HAPPENED, When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate
      Black History month is upon us.  This month I am sharing with you a piece of Black history and American folk-art history through a children’s book.  IT JES’ HAPPENED, When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by award winning, debut author, Don Tate, illustrated by award winning illustrator, R. Gregory Christie is a new gem that recently was awarded the New Voices Award, Honor by Lee & Low Books.   Lee and Low is an independent children’s publisher that focuses on diversity while meeting the needs of all children providing stories children will enjoy and relate to.

     IT JES’ HAPPENED tells the story of American folk artist Bill Traylor through the hearts, minds, words, and pictures of Tate and Christie who are creating a history of their own as Black American artists.  Trifecta!  IT JES’ HAPPENED is an achievement that involves three successful outcomes.  It brings to life a piece of important folk art and Black history in a manner that gives hope and inspires creativity through the work and story of Bill Traylor.  Second, Don Tate tells the journey of Traylor, a child born into slavery moving through his life saving up memories, deep down inside, with honesty and reverence through language that engages the reader and holds their attention making you want to know more.  In the third outcome Christie brings the perfect matches of illustration style and palette that takes Traylor’s life and drawings and spreads them across the pages echoing back the author’s voice and Traylor’s work and memories. 

    IT JES’ HAPPENED is a 32 page, non-fiction picture book biography for children. What else makes this story stand out beyond the fine craftsmanship and interesting history?  IT JES’ HAPPENED captures how stories are created, held deep within, and through creativity can be released no matter roots, journey, or age.  It captures creativity's timelessness showing children your never to old, and it's never to late to learn and start something new. 

 I give this book 5 apples, cream of the crop. Craftsmanship and themes of creativity and timelessness in a non-fiction biography for children is hard to come by at this level of execution.  It makes a great addition for art educators, librarians, teachers, and children and adults who appreciate other's life stories and creative outcomes.  IT JES' HAPPENED is not to be just taken off the shelve in February to celebrate Black History month.  

This book is a biography picture book which has large word count and more complicated words and sentence structure than general picture books. It is for children 8 and up.  It is a fun way to learn history.  The themes in this book are Black history, American folk art history, life, drawing, your never to old, not worrying about what others think, and expressing your self. A teachers guide is available on the author's website.

If you want to find out more about author/illustrator Don Tate, check out his website
 at:  Don's Website   If you want to find more talented children's authors and illustrators of color, check out : THE BROWN BOOKSHELF

This book can be found through your local independent bookseller and online at major chain websites.  In Grand Junction, our local independent book seller is Grand Valley Books.

Thank you for tuning in this morning or visiting this blog.  Leave a comment on this blog and/or like the Book Wisdom By Diane page on Facebook and you will be entered to win a copy of this book. If you sign up for the once or twice monthly post, you will automatically be entered monthly!  Just let me know by email as your privacy is always respected.  I do not know who subscribes. 


Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing with us about this interesting book, Diane. It sounds like a great one for Black History Month. Wish I were still teaching.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Diane, I see you found a great book for Black History Month. I would like to share this with my face to face group.

Mirka Breen said...

The cover art looks fabulous. Your review makes me want to not "jes" read this book, but own it.

Tina Cho said...

Looks like a great story and choice for February! I enjoyed SEEING you highlighting this book!

Vivian Kirkfield said...

Oh Wow! What a winning book selection for any time...but especially with February being Black History did an awesome review, Diane...I want to run out and get this book to read.