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Pictures for Miss Josie Hardcover – March 25, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688174809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688174804
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,076,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-Written to celebrate the life of Josephine Carroll Smith, a respected African-American educator, this fictionalized picture book tells the story of one of the many young black men to whom she opened her home and heart. The third-person narrative describes the experiences of a boy who travels to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with the woman who had welcomed his father into her home when he was a student. The child isn't sure that he wants to stay for the planned overnight visit; to him, she seems like a giant, tall, stern, and foreboding, but Miss Josie encourages his love of drawing, and the time passes quickly. As he grows up, attends college, marries, starts a family, and embarks on an artistic career, she is always there to play a supportive and nurturing role in his life. When it is time for his own son to meet Miss Josie, she is not so tall, but "in the ways that mattered, still the same." The large, brightly colored folk paintings, done in oil and collage, are in harmony with the quiet, lyrical narrative. A short biography of Smith is appended. This story of a remarkable woman makes a good addition to Black History Month curriculum studies.
Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. A child of ex-slaves, Josephine Carroll Smith ("Miss Josie") became a much-loved teacher and then Director of Elementary Education in Washington, D.C. Written to honor her memory, this picture book tells the fictionalized story of one young boy who is inspired by Miss Josie to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. The biography-fiction mix doesn't quite work here, especially because the message is heavy and the inspirational success story too idyllic. But the boy's viewpoint is a good way to bring the child's mentor close. At first she overwhelms him ("she was like a giant"). Even in college, he is wary--until she gives him the strength to stand up to his loving dad and "make pictures." Andrews' stunning collage-and-oil art expresses the personal relationship with drama and clarity. At first Miss Josie looms over the child, and, later, in one beautiful scene he hides from her overpowering presence in a crowded train station. But at the end he is the giant before his easel. A note at the back fills in Smith's life story. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Sandra Belton is the author of a dozen books of fiction, including the Ernestine & Amanda series, McKendree, Pictures for Miss Josie, and Store Bought Baby. Belton graduated from Howard University and got her graduate degree in education from George Washington University. After several years she left teaching to develop technology components for the educational market. She has always loved telling stories and in 1993 her first book for children, From Miss Ida's Porch, was published and praised by Publishers Weekly as "a powerful debut."

In November 2013, the Ernestine & Amanda series is being newly released by Amazon Publishing, and, in addition to featuring several changes, includes a never-before-published fifth book, Ernestine & Amanda: Goodbye. Hello.... Belton says, "Ernestine and Amanda are the keepers of my childhood memories and dreams. Their voices echo the ones I heard while chasing lightning bugs and playing at twilight with the kids down the street. The events of their lives and the heroes they celebrate are the ones of our heritage."

Belton grew up in Beckley, West Virginia, a town she describes as having "wonderful porches"--porches being a common theme in many of her stories. She loves reading and, like Ernestine, playing the piano and remembers well a time before TV, computers, and video games--"those wonderful imagination-building hours."

Check out the website created specifically for the Ernestine & Amanda series to support understanding of the times in which they live:
To find out more about Sandra Belton and her other books, visit her webside:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pictures For Miss Josie is a remarkable picture book by Sandra Belton based on the life of celebrated African-American artist Josephine Carroll Smith. Slightly abstract yet vivid color illustrations by Benny Andrews complement this glowing portrayal of Miss Josie and her exhortations concerning the importance of believing in oneself and rising to one's fullest potential. Pictures For Miss Josie is very highly recommended for school and community library picture book collections.
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