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Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! Hardcover – July 24, 2017

4.9 out of 5 stars 78 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1–3—James VanDerZee (1886–1983) was a prolific photographer who used his camera to capture the beauty and dignity of his subjects. This picture book biography not only introduces readers to VanDerZee's life but also provides a glimpse into the Harlem Renaissance and highlights some techniques used in early photography. As a young man, VanDerZee was the second person to own a camera in his small town of Lenox, MA. His love of his family and neighbors fueled his passion. The evenly paced narrative describes how VanDerZee moved to New York City and became a successful photographer, despite racism. Although he took pictures of a wide array of people, he focused mainly on the black middle class and occasionally on celebrities, such as Joe Louis and later Jean-Michel Basquiat. The refrain, "Take a picture of me, James VanDerZee!" echoes throughout. Through photography, VanDerZee was able to create a nuanced depiction of life in Harlem in the 20th century. The attractive illustrations, acrylic on canvas, skillfully convey the expressions and sentiments of the images that inspired them, with some original photographs included in the afterword. VERDICT Vivid visuals and comprehensive text combine for an excellent resource for biography collections.—Jamie Jensen, Coy Miller Elementary School, Little Elm, TX

Review

In an absorbing debut, Loney introduces African-American photographer VanDerZee, who moved from Massachusetts to Harlem at age 18 with a dream and a camera: He saw what was special in everyone and captured each person s story on film. Mallett s lush acrylic paintings glow with a golden light in several scenes, treating his subject (and the Harlem Renaissance movement he documented) with the same reverence VanDerZee brought to his work. Loney closes on a triumphant note with VanDerZee s photographs on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An extensive afterword features several of VanDerZee s photographs and additional insights into his life and work. ----Publishers Weekly, starred review

Children will be drawn in by VanDerZee's struggles, inspirations, and achievements as well as the idea that photographs can be both works of art and enduring historical records and that they can be taken by devices other than phones. Backmatter includes an afterword, a bibliography, and a selection of VanDerZee's photographs. A fascinating look at the development of early photography, the life of an African-American artist, and the world of the Harlem Renaissance. ----Kirkus Reviews

Through photography, VanDerZee was able to create a nuanced depiction of life in Harlem in the 20th century. The attractive illustrations, acrylic on canvas, skillfully convey the expressions and sentiments of the images that inspired them, with some original photographs included in the afterword. VERDICT Vivid visuals and comprehensive text combine for an excellent resource for biography collections. ----School Library Journal

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lee & Low Books (July 24, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1620142600
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1620142608
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 - 11 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 970L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 2 - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.05 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.9 x 0.5 x 10.6 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 78 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
78 global ratings
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4 star
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Reviewed in Canada on November 11, 2018
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