Jake Makes a World by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts Book Review

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, A Young Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
Illustrations by Christopher Myers
Publisher: MoMA
Release Date: June 30, 2015

Jacob Lawrence found his artistic inspiration in the people and streets of Harlem. Intricate patterns, bright colors, sounds, smells, and people all played integral roles as he developed into a renowned artist.

Whenever I read these artist biographies, I am instantly reminded how woeful my art history education is. Although I am sometimes vaguely familiar with these artists because I do actually love visiting art museums, but I rarely know their stories.

Perhaps it is this gap of understanding that loves these types of books so much. There is a lot of Lawrence's actual artwork included in the book, but Myers was also able to capture Lawrence's style while making the illustrations his own. There is a great flow in the text although I wanted a bit more in the end. This is a typical feeling I have when reading children's book biographies though as it is nearly impossible to distill an entire person's life into a 32-page picture book.