Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art

by Barb Rosenstock (Author) Mary Grandpre (Illustrator)

Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A gorgeous, expressive picture-book biography of Marc Chagall by the Caldecott Honor team behind The Noisy Paint Box.

Through the window, the student sees . . .

His future--butcher, baker, blacksmith, but turns away.

A classmate sketching a face from a book. His mind blossoms.

The power of pictures. He draws and erases, dreams in color while Papa worries.

A folder of pages laid on an art teacher's desk. Mama asks, Does this boy have talent?

Pursed lips, a shrug, then a nod, and a new artist is welcomed.

His brave heart flying through the streets, on a journey unknowable.

Known for both his paintings and stained-glass windows, Marc Chagall rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world's most renowned artists. Admired for his use of color and the powerful emotion in his work, Chagall led a career that spanned decades and continents, and he never stopped growing. This lyrical narrative shows readers, through many different windows, the pre-WWI childhood and wartime experiences that shaped Chagall's path.

From the same team behind the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box, which was about the artist Kandinksy, Through the Window is a stunning book that, through Chagall's life and work, demonstrates how art has the power to be revolutionary.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-4--The latest from the creators of Vincent Can't Sleep and The Noisy Paint Box is a stunning picture book that pays tribute to Marc Chagall. Captivated by the scenes of everyday life as seen "through the window," this book mimics his sometimes dreamlike and whimsical paintings through text and image. Each page reveals what Chagall might have observed as a child; Rosenstock and Grandpré pay homage to his signature artistic style, which blended traditional folklore, scenes of everyday life in his hometown of Vitebsk, and most notably, his deep Jewish faith. Later in his life, Chagall began experimenting with stained glass, producing works that emulate a sense of contemplation, peace, and healing. The illustrations capture the meditative, colorful, and sacred nature of Chagall's work while still remaining recognizable and accessible to young readers. The book excellently connects Chagall's spiritual process as an artist with the historical and social challenges he faced as a Jew at the dawn of World War I, and to this end, includes author's notes for historical context at the book's conclusion. VERDICT A winning tribute to an artist who inspired the world that will please readers of all ages.--Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Beginning with Chagall's childhood in the village of Vitebsk, Belarus, Rosenstock's expressive ode to the artist is laced with references to familiar moments from Chagall's oeuvre: "Neighbors squabble, rabbis bless, a bowlegged fiddler plays on a rooftop." Working in painterly layers, GrandPré integrates Chagall's chimerical imagery into her pictures. Rejected by some for his nontraditional work, Chagall was embraced by a community of French artists, including Cezanne, Gauguin, and Matisse. Rosenstock and GrandPré closely observe and reflect Chagall's life and creative process: spreads show the artist envisioning, painting, and sculpting, while artisans prepare stained glass for the enchanting, blue-bathed "America Windows" in Chicago. A lush and insightful portrait of a daring and imaginative artist. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

With poetic language and whimsical pictures, Rosenstock and GrandPré have completely captured the beauty of Marc Chagall's life and art. —Booklist, starred review

A lush and insightful portrait of a daring and imaginative artist.—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Barb Rosenstock
BARB ROSENSTOCK is the author of the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box; Vincent Can't Sleep; Through the Window; and Mornings with Monet, all also illustrated by Mary GrandPré, as well as many other books. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, sons, and two big poodles. Visit her at

ERIKA MEZA is the illustrator of Salsa Lullaby by Jen Arena. She was born in Morelia, in the Mexican state where monarch butterflies go for the winter. She grew up in awe of the phenomenon, and carried the image of the butterfly as a piece of home when she moved to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an author and illustrator. Her themes are born out of the exploration of her migrant essence, her bittersweet relationship with change, and her attachment to innocence and curiosity. She now lives in London. Learn more about Erika at or on Twitter at @ErikaDraws.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2018
Sydney Taylor Book Award
Honor Book 2019 - 2019

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