News & Reviews

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

What a lovely review:" Informative, important, and elegant." I'm so pleased that The School Library Journal reviewed MAYA LIN: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines in their article, "Athletes, Activists, and Other Amazing Women" for Women’s History Month:

"Harvey, Jeanne Walker. Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines. illus. by Dow Phumiruk. Holt. May 2017. $17.99. ISBN 1250112494.Gr 1-4–

In free verse, Harvey describes how family, nature, education, and travel shaped the creative vision of Maya Lin, the artist and architect who designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC. The author explains how Lin entered her idea for the memorial in a competition and how surprised, even angry, some of the judges were when they discovered the winning proposal was submitted by a woman who was still in school.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the account of how the architect came up with her proposal. She visited the site, and “in her mind, she saw the cut in the earth/healing over time to a polished edge/covered from top to bottom with names/an edge that reflected sky and grass/and the people who visited the memorial.”

Phumiruk’s digital illustrations feature soft, opaque colors that contrast brilliantly with the glossy black of the memorial images. Informative, important, and elegant."

I was thrilled to read the Kirkus Review of MAYA LIN: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines, especially this line: "Overall, a fine celebration of a renowned woman artist."

"A concise biography introduces the Chinese-American artist and designer Maya Lin, best known for her architectural plan for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Lin, the child of a ceramic artist and a poet who “had fled China at a time when people were told…how to think,” spends hours as a child playing in the nearby woods and building miniature towns of “paper and scraps.”

Lin is in her last year of college when she enters a competition to design a proposed memorial to Vietnam War veterans, to be built on the National Mall. The design had to include the 58,000 names of those soldiers who had died in Vietnam. Lin’s design was chosen in the anonymous competition but was not without controversy when her name was revealed.

The illustration of the completed memorial focuses on the wall and Lin’s original concept, built into the earth, rising and falling with the landscape, rather than the compromised result, with statues representing soldiers. 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.

The margins of the page containing Harvey’s author’s note about Lin’s work are filled with artists’ and architects’ tools, neatly labeled: ink pens, blueprints, pastels. Harvey provides websites for further information but no specific sources for her work.

Overall, a fine celebration of a renowned woman artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"

Oh! I'm very excited to read the first review of MAYA LIN: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines, published in BOOKLIST and in particular the review stating that this book " "is an artful resource for dreamers of all ages." :

"In 1981, judges selected Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 entries. A senior at Yale University, Lin was just 21. In this introduction to the influential American designer, Harvey portrays Lin’s early inspirations, from the forests and hills of her Ohio hometown and the progressive professions of her parents (her poet mother and clay-artist father, both Chinese immigrants, “never told Maya what to be or how to think”) to “the patterns of light and lines” in buildings at Yale and abroad.

The book also emphasizes Lin’s artistic process, revealing the impetus—a reflective sliver in the earth’s surface—for what would be her first (of many) major works of art, and the mashed potato models, sketches, and backlash that accompanied it.

All the while, the clean lines in Phumiruk’s deliberately sparse, light-infused spreads and the placement of slender, pillarlike passages of text reinforce the breathtaking beauty of Lin’s sleek landmark. With a closing author’s note detailing Lin’s motivations for projects past and present, this is an artful resource for dreamers of all ages. — Briana Shemroske"

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

Jeanne has reviewed over 170 picture book biographies here and

previously on her blog  titled  TRUE TALES