Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas Blog Tour: Review and Prize Pack Giveaway
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Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas Blog Tour: Review and Prize Pack Giveaway

Black History Month is the perfect time for children to learn about the amazing achievements made by many distinguished African Americans in U.S. history, such as contemporary artist and art educator Alma Thomas. Get to know Alma's life from a fresh perspective by reading Jeanne Walker Harvey’s Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas and enter to win a personalized classroom set of the book for up to 30 students!

My Review:

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas is an uplifting and beautifully illustrated biography of Alma Thomas, the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the famous Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, and the first Black woman with her painting chosen to be included in the White House's permanent collection. Written in poetic yet kid-friendly language, the book highlights the most important events in Alma's life, showcases her best known paintings, and discusses several factors that may have exerted an impact on Alma's personality, attitude toward life, painting style, and career choices.

Born in the Deep South at a time when racial segregation was protected by law, Alma starts exhibiting her talent for art creation from an early age. Recognizing the power of knowledge, Alma's parents make sure their children gain access to quality education, first by building a family library and inviting teachers to their home, and later by moving from Georgia to Washington D.C., where Alma receives her degree in fine arts and starts her teaching career. Likewise, Alma brings art to the children in her neighborhood and devotes most of her life to art education.

Alma's love for nature inspires her to express what she sees, hears and feels in nature through shapes, lines and patterns infused with vibrant colors. In honor of Alma's unique painting style, the illustrations in Ablaze with Color, are, just as the book title suggests, very colorful and lively, bringing the readers to Alma's side as she goes through different stages of her life. 

Alma's life story inspires us to follow our passion, to overcome challenges creatively, to give back to our community, and to embrace life with positive thinking. Despite all the hardships and injustices she had experienced during her lifetime, Alma Thomas chose to celebrate beauty and happiness with her artwork, while bringing peace and joy to her audience. A great feature that the book includes is the Timeline, which provides a side-by-side view of Alma's life events vs. events in American history between 1891 and 2015. It helps readers understand the influence of historical events on Alma's life as well as on the various themes of Alma's paintings. As the story makes it evident what parents could do to change the lives of their children, I'd urge parents who see the value of this wonderful book to read it together with their kids.

About the Book:

Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrated by Loveis Wise

Ages 4-8 | 40 Pages
Publisher: HarperCollins | ISBN-13: 9780063021891

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 20th 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 backmatter with photos, an author’s and illustrator’s note, a timeline, and a list of sources and resources, which 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 Pencil, Hidden Figures, and Mae Among the Stars.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Bookshop

About the Author:

Jeanne Walker Harvey has been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just like Alma Thomas, Jeanne believes that art brings us joy. Her other picture books include Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California.

Visit her online at www.jeanneharvey.com.

About the Illustrator:

Loveis Wise is an illustrator and designer from Washington, DC. They are currently based in Los Angeles and their work often speaks to themes of joy and liberation. Their work can be found through the New Yorker, Google, Adobe, and the New York Times.

You can find them online at www.loveiswise.com.

Three lucky winners will each receive a classroom set of Ablaze with Color, autographed and personalized for each student and the teacher by Jeanne Walker Harvey (no more than 30 books per set)!

Giveaway ends 2/15. Open to US only. Please enter below. Good luck!

Ablaze with Color: Book Giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Jeanne Walker Harvey. icefairy's Treasure Chest is not responsible for winner selection or prize fulfillment.

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