Blogger Renee Grassi

“A Splash of Red” Makes a Big Splash at #alayma

Every year, I enjoy blogging about which books received the Schneider Family Book Award.  It is always inspiring to hear about which authors or illustrators were honored by the Committee for their work, embodying an artistic expression of the disability experience.  This year’s list recipients of the Schneider Family Book Award included  A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

According to Award Chair Alyson Beeche, “This picture book biography of self-taught African American folk artist Horace Pippin demonstrates the dogged determination of a wounded soldier to paint again. After a WWI injury threatened to end his potential artistic career, he trained himself to paint by supporting his injured arm with the other hand. Bryant and Sweet’s stunning picture book biography effectively depicts that perseverance and courage are essential ingredients of living with a disability and realizing your dreams.”

Splash also left a lasting impression on members of the Robert F. Sibert Committee, being named one of the 2014 Sibert Honor Books for the most distinguished informational book published in the last year.  Sibert Medal Committee Chair Cecilia P. McGowan said, “Readers will be inspired by the passion and perseverance of artist Horace Pippin in this engaging picture book biography. The tightly woven narrative coupled with mixed media collage, watercolor and gouache illustrations capture the essence of Pippin’s life and work.”

Want to learn more about the man who inspired this incredible story?  Check out this short film about Horace Pippin produced by a group of students.  Be sure to also take a look at this discussion guide and consider using it with children in your school and public libraries to teach them about this amazing artist.  To see more of Horace Pippin’s artwork, don’t miss out on this online gallery.  The Smithsonian Museum has also digitized many of Pippin’s notebooks and letters, making them available to view online.

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