Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines

by Jeanne Walker Harvey (Author) Dow Phumiruk (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The bold story of Maya Lin, the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

You may be familiar with the iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial. But do you know about the artist-architect who created this landmark?

As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

A Christy Ottaviano Book


School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--So often do we admire and revere our national monuments without giving much thought to those who conceptualized and created them. This quietly inspiring title offers a biographical sketch of Maya Lin, the designer and architect behind Washington's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, completed in 1982. Although the text does not delve deeply into all of the specifics of Lin's life, it imparts basic information about her childhood interest in art and architecture, describes her college studies to strengthen these skills, and explains how as a senior in college she entered a contest and came to create an iconic and poignant monument. Also addressed are the controversies that came with Lin being selected for this project, the opposition she faced, and the way she bravely stood her ground and championed her design and the reasoning behind it. The simple yet lyrical narrative flows effortlessly and will not overwhelm young readers. Lin's story encourages the study of art, architecture, and engineering, making it an ideal choice to pair with STEAM-related activities. The soft color palette of the digital illustrations (made with scans of watercolors and textures) provides a complementary backdrop to the words, and Phumiruk ably conveys Lin's determination. VERDICT While this book is not comprehensive, it contextualizes the topic and presents an optimal opportunity to spark conversations on art and war. A fine pick for any public or school library collection.--Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Harvey (My Hands Sing the Blues) and debut illustrator Phumiruk recount the career of architect Maya Lin, using a textual and visual sparseness that echoes Lin's minimalist style. Harvey introduces Lin as an observant child with an eye for form, structure, and the interplay of light. While in college, Lin entered the Vietnam Memorial design contest, which required including the names of almost 58,000 dead or missing soldiers: "These rules rang true to Maya. She knew the power of names." Harvey provides just enough biographical details to give a sense of Lin's life, including touching on the initial backlash against her design for the memorial, while Phumiruk's muted artwork, assembled digitally, makes good use of watercolor and corrugated textures to evoke the inspiration Lin drew from nature. Ages 4-8. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A NSTA Best STEM Book of the Year
A NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Washington Post Book that Can Help Build Strong Girls and Boys for Today's World
An Evanston Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Texas Topaz List Selection
An NCIBA Book Award Nominee
A CCBC Master List Selection

"Phumiruk's use of perspective is often striking. . . Harvey's text makes thoughtful, relatable connections between Lin's work and the themes of her life."—The Horn Book, starred review

"The clean lines in Phumiruk's deliberately sparse, light-infused spreads and the placement of slender, pillar like passages of text reinforce the breathtaking beauty of Lin's sleek landmark. With a closing author'snote detailing Lin's motivations for projects past and present, this is an artful resource for dreamers of all ages."-Booklist

"Quietly inspiring . . . The simple yet lyrical narrative flows effortlessly . . . an ideal choice to pair with STEAM-related activities. The soft color palette of the digital illustrations provides a complementary backdrop to the words, and Phumiruk ably conveys Lin's determination."—School Library Journal

"Phumiruk's clean-lined, crisp illustrations, done in Photoshop, and light palette emphasize connections between Lin's concepts and the strong influences of nature on Lin's art. . . A fine celebration of a renowned woman artist."—Kirkus Reviews

"Textual and visual sparseness that echoes Lin's minimalist style."-Publishers Weekly

Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781250112491
Lexile Measure
800L
Guided Reading Level
M
Publication date
May 20, 2017
Series
-

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