Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment (A Parker Curry Book)

by Parker Curry (Author) Brittany Jackson (Illustrator)

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment (A Parker Curry Book)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A New York Times bestseller! A visit to Washington, DC's National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry's young life when she views First Lady Michelle Obama's portrait.

When Parker Curry came face-to-face with Amy Sherald's transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, she didn't just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen--one with dynamic self-assurance, regality, beauty, and truth who captured this young girl's imagination.

When a nearby museum-goer snapped a photo of a mesmerized Parker, it became an internet sensation. Inspired by this visit, Parker, and her mother, Jessica Curry, tell the story of a young girl and her family, whose trip to a museum becomes an extraordinary moment, in a moving picture book.

Parker Looks Up follows Parker, along with her baby sister and her mother, and her best friend Gia and Gia's mother, as they walk the halls of a museum, seeing paintings of everyone and everything from George Washington Carver to Frida Kahlo, exotic flowers to graceful ballerinas. Then, Parker walks by Sherald's portrait of Michelle Obama...and almost passes it. But she stops...and looks up!

Parker saw the possibility and promise, the hopes and dreams of herself in this powerful painting of Michelle Obama. An everyday moment became an extraordinary one...that continues to resonate its power, inspiration, and indelible impact. Because, as Jessica Curry said, "anything is possible regardless of race, class, or gender." 

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Publishers Weekly

Mother/daughter collaborators Jessica, a blogger, and four-year-old Parker unspool this story of an African-American girl's powerful experience with portraiture from the family's real-life museum visit. Ballerina Parker loves dance class, but when her mother suggests they head to the museum one day, the two and little sister Ava fasten their coats, splash through puddles on their way to Washington, D.C.'s National Portrait Gallery, and meet up with a friend, instead. With fast-paced curiosity, they view myriad famous works, reproduced throughout, until, on the way out, Amy Sherald's statuesque portrait of Michelle Obama brings Parker to a full stop, wide-eyed and "spellbound" in Jackson's digital art. The viewing sparks a change as Parker sees herself represented, feels "powerful and strong, and... inside she was dancing" as she contemplates "a road before her with new possibilities." The anecdotal narrative is a bit loose in places, but the creators' conceit--that representation makes all the difference--is profound. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1—Representation in any medium can be powerful. Based on a true story, this book follows Parker, a young African American girl, as she visits the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, with family and friends. Seeing different paintings of key events and portraits of key figures throughout history, the child stops in her tracks when she sees Amy Sherald's portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. The child is surprised because she sees an image in the museum that reflects her and opens her mind to a world of possibilities. Jackson's illustrations depict the adorable children, the grand halls of the gallery, and full-page paintings of the Smithsonian and pulls readers into the experience with Parker. VERDICT A great picture book to introduce a museum experience and to reinforce the importance of representation and its effects.—Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, New York Public Library

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Parker Curry
Parker Curry, six years old, is a New York Times bestselling author and dynamic young mind with a love for ballet and reading. Currently, Parker is in first grade, where she loves to explore art and new books. Precocious Parker lives with her mother, father, younger sister, and baby brother.

Jessica Curry is a New York Times bestselling author, blogger, and work-at-home mama to three children: Parker, Ava, and Cash. Jessica's debut children's picture book, written with her oldest daughter, Parker, was nominated for a 2020 NAACP Image Award. The mother-daughter duo has since penned four additional children's books in hopes of inspiring others to dream big dreams. Jessica's blog, Happy Mama Happy Babies, is an authentic motherhood and lifestyle platform that shares her family's adventures, growth chronicles, and everything in between. Jessica and her family reside in Sherman Oaks, California.

Brittany Jackson (Bea for short) is a New York Times bestselling illustrator who attended the College for Creative Studies and is the grand prize winner and returned alumni of L. Ron Hubbard's Illustrator of the Future Award of 2007. Bea has worked in freelance as a character and outfit designer for various social networking and gaming platforms for more than eight years, though she is most publicly known in publishing as an illustrator.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Aladdin Paperbacks
Publication date
October 20, 2019
A Parker Curry Book
BISAC categories
JUV003000 - Juvenile Fiction | Art & Architecture
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
JNF007130 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Presidents & First Families (U.S.)
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
African American girls
Autobiographical fiction
Obama, Michelle
National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Instit
Curry, Parker

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