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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by [Steptoe, Javaka]
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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1–5—One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded wood from Basquiat's stomping grounds fit together to form the painted surfaces for Steptoe's scenes of the Afro Puerto Rican artist, each unfolding within a colored frame. Occasional collage elements of newsprint, photographs, and art materials add dimension and immediacy, highlighting both artists' immersion in their work and surroundings. Adhering to a straightforward chronology, Steptoe addresses events in Basquiat's life primarily as they affected his artistic growth from young boyhood in Brooklyn through the triumphant years as a critical and popular success in Manhattan. With minimal detail, the author sensitively touches upon his subject's childhood car crash and his mother's mental illness, though the story avoids his drug use and stops before his early death. Crucial back matter provides context for readers in every respect. Additional biographical information fleshes out the lyrical text of the main narrative, and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat's work helps readers appreciate the layers at play in Steptoe's illustrations. An author's note articulates feelings that radiate from every page of the book: Steptoe's admiration for and attachment to Basquiat and his personal investment in depicting a complicated, loving relationship between a child and a mentally ill parent. VERDICT Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY

Review

Praise for Radiant Child:

Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal
An IndieBound Bestseller
Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
Essence Magazine Top Ten Books of the Year
NAACP Image Awards Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work in Children
Bank Street College of Education 2017 Best Children's Book of the Year
NPR Best Books of 2016
Washington Post Best Books of 2016
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016
School Library Journal Best Books of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2016
Horn Book Fanfare Best Books of 2016
New York Public Library 2016 Best Books for Kids
Chicago Public Library 2016 Best Books for Kids
ALA Notable Book for Children
A CCBC Best of Year Choice
A Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017 Selection
Horn Book 2017 Summer Reading Choice
Amazon Best Book of November 2016


*"Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the 'sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL' paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist's energy and mystery. Stellar bookmarking--a riveting portrait of a young artist."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

*"In this visually arresting and vibrantly narrated biography, Steptoe...emulates 1980s street art by layering paint, paper scraps, paint tubes, and photos on found-wood panels.... Steptoe downplays tragic elements, instead celebrating Basquiat's irreverance and brilliance."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

*"Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation."―The Horn Book (starred review)

*"One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography.... Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary."―School Library Journal (starred review)

* "This is a beautifully illustrated biography...[and] an excellent read aloud, especially in the art classroom."―School Library Connection (starred review)

* "A lively, engaging introduction to a one-of-a-kind artist perfect for art-loving kids.... An excellent read-aloud."―Booklist, starred review

"Vibrantly colored, humming with energy, Javaka Steptoe's paintings evoke the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat."―Virginian-Pilot

"Steptoe tells a complex story in simple child-appropriate language and illustrates it with paintings brimming with joy, sorrow and outsized inspiration."―Chicago Tribune

"Art need not be neat to be beautiful, a message underscored by this boldly beautiful bio of a 1980s phenom."―San Francisco Tribune

Product details

  • File Size: 42199 KB
  • Print Length: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (November 8, 2016)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2016
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BKSLGFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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