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[Nonfiction Wednesday] Opening The Portals To Fantasia Through A Painter’s Eyes

"Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art" by Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2020 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

One of the ways through which fantasia can be reached is through the portals of a painter’s mind: his vivid colours, brushes, and distinct way of perceiving the world.


Through The Window: Views Of Marc Chagall’s Life And Art (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Barb Rosenstock Illustrated by Mary Grandpre
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (2018)
ISBN: 1524717517 (ISBN13: 9781524717513)
Borrowed via Singapore’s NLB Overdrive. E-Book photos taken by me.

I was a fan of Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre’s collaboration on The Noisy Paint Box. When I discovered that they have another picturebook biography of another European artist, I looked for it on Overdrive and was thrilled to find it.

The story begins with Chagall’s childhood in Vitebsk, Belarus – then part of the Russian empire. While everyone else were convinced that they would make a living being a butcher, baker, blacksmith, Chagall had stars in his eyes as he stared out the window, imagining fantastical worlds, mosaics of colours, and “fragments of folktales.”

Chagall’s entire lifestory was painted into this exquisite book: from escaping religious persecution to the refinement of his vision in his later years.

Rosenstock has a way of distilling information and facts and transforming them into something magical, lyrical, and exquisite. Grandpre’s art illuminates the narrative with such solid form and sure strokes that pay homage to Chagall’s famous art. Teachers and parents would also be happy to note that the back story contains even more information about Chagall’s life and a list of References for those who wish to know more about this quiet man’s life. A picturebook biography that you should definitely add to your collection.

Please do check out Fats’ review of this picturebook as well here.


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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Opening The Portals To Fantasia Through A Painter’s Eyes

  1. I may have read this before but I think there’s been 2 or 3 nfpbs about him in the past few years.

    Liked by 1 person

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