|Ablaze with color : a story of painter Alma Thomas|
Author: Harvey, Jeanne Walker
Tells 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.
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Kirkus Reviews (01/01/22)
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/22)
Booklist (+) (01/01/22)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/22)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2022 *Starred Review* 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. When Thomas was little, she was surrounded by art, with her mother a dress designer and her aunts pottery painters. But Thomas, who was Black, lived in a still-segregated Georgia, and when she couldn’t attend the local high school, her family moved to Washington, D.C. Later Thomas attended art school, and still facing segregation, she taught children art lessons in her home, though she never stopped making her own art. At age 70, she stopped teaching and, inspired by her garden, created the style of “Circles and stripes. Dashes and dabs” that brought her success. In 1972, New York’s Whitney Museum showed an exhibition of her Paintings of Earth and Space, the first solo show there by a Black woman, and more recently, the Obamas chose one of her paintings to display in the White House, the first work by a Black woman to appear there. 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. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2022 PreS-Gr 4—Harvey rectifies an enormous wrong with this spirited biography of Black painter Alma Thomas (1891–1978), who is not nearly as renowned as she ought to be. 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. Thomas's selflessness as a teacher clearly equaled her love of art: "Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man's inhumanity to man." Although midway through the book readers learn that she spent her adult life in Washington, DC, only by consulting the useful back matter do they find, for example, where Thomas was born (via a cleverly constructed time line). The handful of references include two books for older readers, complementing this one for the young. Wise celebrates Thomas's work with saturated, page-filling, vibrant color; the rich, flat, atmospheric compositions fit Thomas's tesselated style and high-key colors better than Obiora N. Anekwe's Alma's Dream. Though Thomas made most of her paintings after age 70, the concept of aging in these pages is not literal, but more stylized and impressionistic. VERDICT An inspiring introduction for artists and appreciators, as individuals or shared in groups —Patricia D. Lothrop - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.