The Story of Painter Alma Thomas
A TRUE TALE WITH
A CHERRY ON TOP
(pub.2.22.2022) 40 pages
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Loveis Wise
Character: Frieda Caplan
"Celebrate the life-changing power of art in this inspiring and stunningly illustrated picture book biography of American artist Alma Thomas.
Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the 20th century. Told from the point of view of young Alma Thomas, readers can follow along as she grows into her discovery of the life-changing power of art.
As a child in Georgia, Alma Thomas loved to spend time outside, soaking up the colors around her. And her parents filled their home with color and creativity despite the racial injustices they faced. After the family moved to Washington DC, Alma shared her passion for art by teaching children. When she was almost seventy years old, she focused on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.
In this celebration of art and the power of imagination, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the incredible true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. With her bold and vibrant abstract paintings, Alma set the world ablaze with color."
"Inspired by what she saw,
Alma began painting in a new style.
Circles and stripes.
Dashes and dabs.
Ablaze with color.
Soft colors, bright colors.
She created colors and patterns
from her childhood days in the South
and from what she saw now
at her favorite park nearby.
She painted how she felt on the inside
when she experienced nature outside.
How nature made her heart sing and dance,
even when life could be hard and unjust."
And something more: I'm so very excited to be sharing our book, ABLAZE WITH COLOR - A Story of the Painter Alma Thomas, just two days before the release date. As I wrote in the Author's Note: "I greatly admire Alma's dedication to both of her careers, as an arts educator for children and as an artist... Whenever I see Alma's artwork, my spirits are lifted. I'm deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to write about her inspiring life and paintings, ablaze with joyous color."
Loveis Wise's illustrations in our book are truly stunning -- ablaze with joyous color! And, as I always explain to children when I share my books, the creation of every book is a collaborative process, and I want to share my heartfelt gratitude for my amazing agent, Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency, who found a home for this book, and editor extraordinaire Megan Ilnitzki of HarperCollins, and the HarperCollins team: Chelsea C. Donaldson, art director, Caitlin Stamper, designer, and Shona McCarthy, copy editor, and everyone else at Harper who shared their time and creativity to make this book a reality.
And, as a long-time guide at San Francisco Museum of Art for school groups, I greatly admire Alma's passion for teaching art to children. I want to share that on my website, I've posted some wonderful art and thinking activities for children which can be downloaded: https://www.jeanneharvey.com/projects .