We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
Our reading theme for July-September is Binge-Read: Book Series Marathon. We are expanding the range of this theme to include books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:
- Books that are part of an ongoing series
- Themed stories: books that are technically not part of a series, but fit a specific theme – e.g. intergenerational stories, nature-themed stories
- Short story collections
- Narratives of a similar genre
- Stories written by same author
This book features a “series” of women artists from A to Z: truly a nonfiction title that captures the essence of our series theme.
Women Artists A To Z (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Melanie LaBarge Illustrated by Caroline Corrigan
Published by Dial Books (2020)
ISBN: 9780593108727 (ISBN10: 0593108728) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
Unlike other A to Z book series that features distinguished people using the first letter of their names as A to Z markers, this one cleverly utilizes form, style, technique as a means of introducing each women artists’ works.
I was also very happy to learn about female artists who are previously unknown to me, with empowering art that is rooted in one’s cultural roots and history of oppression, similar to Betye Saar’s boxes as can be seen in the image above.
While there are familiar names such as Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keefe, and Frida Kahlo just to name several, there are are also indigenous artists like Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, whose art depicting horses is described to be “both a personal symbol – her father was a horse trader – and a political one.”
Another new-to-me artist is Helen Zughaib, Lebanese-American, who is quite famous for her veil art. I like how she “reimagines famous pieces of Western art by including Eastern imagery to create a dialogue between cultures that moves beyond stereotypes.” I should be on the lookout if her work is featured here in the UAE.
While the descriptors found on each page are brief, there is also a fairly detailed afterword that provides even more information about each artist – very concise yet also packs enough information that will not be too overwhelming for young readers. This is a must-read and a good book to add to your collection of artist biographies.