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ABOUT THE PEOPLE'S PAINTER
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.
"Turk’s expressive paintings with exaggerated features evoke the spirit of Shahn and the artist’s depictions of the immigrant experience, working people, and protests. . .A thoughtful introduction to this social justice artist."
"Levinson’s strong narrative is supported by emotive, brilliantly vibrant paintings in gouache, acrylic, pencil, chalk, and linoleum block prints. This life of an artist with a social conscience makes itself heard."
— Kirkus Reviews
ABOUT CYNTHIA LEVINSON
Since she doesn’t draw or paint, Cynthia Levinson tells true stories about brave people, like Ben Shahn, and the injustices they’ve faced through words. She loves doing research, which has allowed her not only to visit Shahn’s studio but also to walk with foot soldiers of the civil rights movement, fall off a tightwire, and read letters housed in a condemned building surrounded by yellow police tape. Cynthia’s books for young readers have won many awards. She lives in Austin and Boston.
ABOUT EVAN TURK
Evan Turk is an Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning illustrator, author, and animator. He is the author-illustrator of The Storyteller, Heartbeat, You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks, and A Thousand Glass Flowers and the illustrator of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; Grandfather Gandhi; and its companion Be the Change. Originally from Colorado, Evan now lives in the Hudson River Valley with his husband and two cats. He is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Visit him at EvanTurk.com.
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