Today marks the centennial of the birth of author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, renowned for his delightful picture books for children.
To celebrate this occasion, we offer the following seven videos of his books being read aloud…
Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which celebrated the British landscape and country life.
Potter was born into a wealthy Unitarian family. She and her younger brother Walter Bertram (1872–1918) grew up with few friends outside their large extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature, and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. Summer holidays were spent away from London, in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.
She was educated by private governesses until she was 18. Her study of languages, literature, science, and history was broad and she was an eager student. Her artistic talents were recognized early. She enjoyed private art lessons and developed her own style, favouring watercolour. She illustrated insects, fossils, archaeological artifacts, and fungi, along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined. (via Wikipedia)
In honor of the occasion we offer 10 of her fully illustrated books that can be read in full here, or downloaded as FREE PDF ebooks via Google Books.
(NOTE: Many of these are available as Kindle ebooks through Amazon, but the free Kindle editions do not include Potter’s illustrations.)
Brett Foster Reviews a New Book
of Illustrations for THE DIVINE COMEDY
For BOOKS AND CULTURE
This thin, handsome collection, featuring Michael Mazur’s illustrations of Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, alongside Robert Pinsky’s translated passages on facing pages, promises to appeal to various readerships. Those unfamiliar with Dante can gain a terrific first impression of his medieval epic poem and its treatment of the afterlife from these selections (no lengthy text or intimidating notes in sight). On the other hand, longtime lovers of the Commedia will find here cherished lines brought to new life in Pinsky’s renderings, but most refreshing will be the “embedded” perspectives of Mazur’s illustrations. We never see the character Dante or his guide Virgil themselves, as if pilgrims posing on a stage, but experience Mazur’s alluring visions of their supernatural settings as if looking over the characters’ shoulders, or through their own eyes.
As Pinsky recounts in a preface to this volume, Mazur (whom the art world lost recently) had been an avid reader of Dante in Italian for decades, and he supplied monotype images for Pinsky’s popular edition of Inferno in the mid-1990s. Praising Mazur’s images for inspiring and guiding his own translation efforts, Pinsky describes his collaborator’s works as “themselves acts of translation, embodying certain vital principles.” Pinsky explains the suitability of the monotype form for Inferno—not only in its somber, black-and-white effects, but also in how a print is squeezed through the press. The final products, incorporating the “unique, unpredictable results of pressure,” are moving reflections of the pit in Dante’s narrative, its inhabitants enduring the unrelenting pressures of sin.
Read the full review:
I’ll Tell What I Saw:
Select Translations and Illustrations from the Divine Comedy.
Paperback: Sarabande Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Sonia Sanchez’s latest book resonates as boldly as a jazz ensemble; clear and poignant, it is intransigent in her subject matter. Her impassioned reflections come in the loose form of the American haiku, in groups of two to twenty-one haiku at a time. Primarily ekphrastic, her poems react to and commend the work and activism of African American singers, artists, authors, sculptors, painters, celebrities, and political and social activists, to whom many of the poems are dedicated. Sanchez presents a deeply personal, affected history and promulgation of her race, yet does so in each poem with a fresh breath and new song.
The collection begins with a preface, a “Haikuography.” Most emphasized is the “haiku nature” that resides beneath our rushing lives, the simplest (and nevertheless complex) essence of our existence. Sanchez proclaims that haiku “offer no solutions”; indeed, there are times when no solutions exist, as in “Sister Haiku (for Pat)”:
Read the full review:
Hardback: Beacon Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]