Tuesday, February 09, 2010

150-151 (2010 #s 15-16). 2010 King and Belpre Illustrator Winners

My People by Langston Hughes, with photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr., is the winner of the American Library Association (ALA) 2010 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, "given to African American ... illustrator[s] for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, ...[to] promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society." This is a picture book illustrating Hughes' 33-word poem, originally written in the 1920s to celebrate black people, with sepia-toned black-and-white close-up photographs of black people of different ages. Dark backgrounds and clothing emphasize the eyes, smiles, and other facial expressions of the subjects, and their differing skin tones and shades. Small borders or corners on the pages with contact-sheet size prints invite exploration. That motif is repeated in the endpapers in a larger format. Smith includes a picture of his father in his Navy whites just before a short explanatory afterword. This book is a true gem.

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day - Book Day / Celebremos El Dia De Los Ninos - El Dia De Los Libros was written by Pat Mora, one of the instigators of this special day, and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, who won the 2010 Pura Belpre Illustrator Award, given to "a Latino/Latina ... illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth." I couldn't find a description of the media used in his illustrations, but in a previous book with Mora (Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!: America's Sproutings), Lopez used acrylic on wood panels, and these illustrations are similar. They are very colorful, lively, and imaginative, and make one think of Mexican folk art. Sadly, the bilingual text is not particularly inspiring (and what's with all the repetition of "Toon! Toon!" or "Tun! Tun!"?). The last two double-page spreads in the book give a history of Children's Day - Book Day / El Dia De Los Ninos - El Dia De Los Libros and suggestions for celebrating it.

[These books were borrowed from my university and the local public libraries, and go back tomorrow.]

© Amanda Pape - 2010

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