Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

by Jeanne Walker Harvey

On Sale: 02/22/2022

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

by Jeanne Walker Harvey

illustrated by Loveis Wise

On Sale: 02/22/2022

Format:

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work

Nutmeg Children’s Book Award (Connecticut)

Jane Addams Book Award

Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best

New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids

About the Book

Celebrate the life-changing power of art in this inspiring and stunningly illustrated picture book biography of American artist Alma Thomas.

Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the twentieth century. Told from the point of view of young Alma Thomas, readers can follow along as she grows into her discovery of the life-changing power of art.

As a child in Georgia, Alma Thomas loved to spend time outside, soaking up the colors around her. And her parents filled their home with color and creativity despite the racial injustices they faced. After the family moved to Washington, DC, Alma shared her passion for art by teaching children. When she was almost seventy years old, she focused on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.

In this celebration of art and the power of imagination, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the incredible true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. With her bold and vibrant abstract paintings, Alma set the world ablaze with color.

Ablaze with Color includes extensive back matter with photos, an author’s and illustrator’s note, a timeline, and a list of sources and resources that will be a great tool for parents, educators, and librarians. Perfect for Women’s History Month and Black History Month units alongside such favorites as Malala's Magic PencilHidden Figuresand Mae Among the Stars.

  • A NAACP IMAGE AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING LITERARY CHILDREN'S WORK NOMINEE!
  • A JANE ADDAMS CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN 2023 FINALIST!
  • A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2022!
  • A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 2022 BEST BOOK FOR KIDS!
  • A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST INFORMATIONAL BOOKS FOR YOUNGER READERS OF 2022!
  • A NERDY BOOK CLUB 2022 BEST NONFICTION BOOK!
  • A CCBC BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2023!
  • A CHARTER OAK CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD NONFICTION NOMINEE!
  • A 2022 CALIBA GOLDEN POPPY AWARD FINALIST!
  • A 2023 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD (NCBA) IN CHILDREN'S BOOKS: YOUNGER READERS NOMINEE!

Critical Praise

This charming biography’s title describes not only Alma Thomas' signature paintings but the book’s radiant artwork, which emphasizes how the colors of the natural world inspired her unusual, iconic works. Neatly encapsulating a long life that saw social and personal upheaval, as well as gorgeously showcasing the art produced along the way and the natural world that inspired it, this title is a must for art and biography shelves. — Booklist (starred review)

In clear language and straightforward presentation, the author (Maya Lin) focuses on Thomas’s family’s intellectual ambitions and support of her aspirations, her love of nature and education, and her determination and persistence in the face of societal obstacles. Wise celebrates Thomas’s work with saturated, page-filling, vibrant color; the rich, flat, atmospheric compositions fit Thomas’s tessellated style and high-key colors. An inspiring introduction for artists and appreciators, as individuals or shared in groups. — School Library Journal (starred review)

This superb picture-book biography profiles Alma Thomas (1891–1978), the first Black woman to have art displayed in the White House’s permanent collection. Harvey’s (Maya Lin, rev. 7/17) poetic text is imagistic and deftly paced; Wise’s (The People Remember, rev. 11/21) digital artwork is boldly, fittingly colorful. — Horn Book (starred review)

The text achieves a fine balance of evocative lyricism and straightforward exposition. Wise’s vibrant, eye-catching illustrations contain echoes of Thomas’ signature abstract style, with its colorful mosaic-like patterns and tessellated brush strokes. Uplifting with hope and ablaze with joyous colors! — Kirkus Reviews

That “Alma did not live to see the momentous day—when the first Black president and First Lady chose Alma’s painting as the first artwork by a Black woman to be displayed in the White House” closes her story with a single bittersweet episode in a tour de force career. Wise’s digital art pops with color and features slightly abstracted figures, mirroring but never mimicking Thomas’ visual explosion of hues. — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063021891
  • ISBN 10: 0063021897
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 02/22/2022
  • Pages: 40
  • List Price:24.99 CAD
  • Ages: 4 to 8
  • BISAC1 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Women
  • BISAC2 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Art / Painting
  • BISAC3 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
  • BISAC4 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Art
  • BISAC5 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Inspirational & Personal Growth

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