A lyrically told, exquisitely illustrated biography of influential Jewish artist and activist Ben Shahn
"The first thing I can remember," Ben said, "I drew."
As an observant child growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees--and, after seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers' rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too.
So when Ben and the rest of his family make their way to America, Ben brings both his sharp artistic eye and his desire to fight for what's right. As he grows, he speaks for justice through his art--by disarming classmates who bully him because he's Jewish, by defying his teachers' insistence that he paint beautiful landscapes rather than true stories, by urging the US government to pass Depression-era laws to help people find food and jobs.
In this moving and timely portrait, award-winning author Cynthia Levinson and illustrator Evan Turk honor an artist, immigrant, and activist whose work still resonates today: a true painter for the people.
This profile of Jewish artist and activist Ben Shahn, who emigrated from Lithuania to America in 1906, highlights the threads of compassion and social justice that ran through his work. Shahn learned of injustice early in his life, witnessing his father's banishment to Siberia for "demanding fair pay for working people," and later experiencing anti-Semitism in America. Leaving school at age 14 to help support his family, Shahn attended art school at night while apprenticed to a lithographer. An unjust execution spurred Shahn's social realism paintings, attention to which resulted in the U.S. government hiring him to take photographs across America that "revealed hard lives in troubled times." Bold, richly layered multimedia illustrations by Turk feature abstracted characters in Shahn's style, while Levinson's smooth, well-researched narrative provides a comprehensive introduction to a justice-minded painter. Back matter includes an author's note, an illustrator's note, a timeline, and selected bibliography. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.