Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French And The Lincoln Memorial

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, fifteen-year-old Dan French had no way to know that one day his tribute to the great president would transform a plot of Washington, DC marshland into America’s gathering place. He did not even know that a sculptor was something to be. He only knew that he liked making things with his hands. This is the story of how a farmboy became America’s foremost sculptor. After failing at academics, Dan was working the family farm when he idly carved a turnip into a frog and discovered what he was meant to do. Sweeney’s swift prose and Fields’s evocative illustrations capture the single-minded determination with which Dan taught himself to sculpt and launched his career with the famous Minuteman Statue in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. This is also the story of the Lincoln Memorial, French’s culminating masterpiece. Thanks to this lovingly created tribute to the towering leader of Dan’s youth, Abraham Lincoln lives on as the man of marble, his craggy face and careworn gaze reminding millions of seekers what America can be. Dan’s statue is no lifeless figure, but a powerful, vital touchstone of a nation’s ideals. Now Dan French has his tribute too, in this exquisite biography that brings history to life for young readers.

Let’s Work

Cynthia Weill scores again with an early concept book that bring every kind of job to life, including the work of the dedicated palm weavers of Flavio Gallardo’s workshop, whose miniature palm weavings illustrate this playful book, teaching children words for work in two languages. The weavers live in the village of Chigmecatitlán in the Mixteca part of the Mexican state of Puebla. With tremendous skill and patience, the artisans of this region practice palm weaving, a craft which came to Mexico even before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 15th century. Imagine being able to hold all of the illustrations in one book in the palms of your hands. You can do that with the tiny weavings in Let’s Work. Most pieces are no larger than a dime!

Anna And Johanna

This delightful tale about two young friends in 17th-century Holland is inspired by Vermeer’s two masterpieces, The Milkmaid and The Lacemaker. Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, this story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer’s luminous depiction of domestic life.

Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings

The moment she steps off the plane, she feels a wall of heat, and familiar sights soon follow the boys selling water ice by the pink cathedral, the tap tap buses in the busy streets, the fog and steep winding road to her aunt’s home in the mountains. The girl has always loved Auntie Luce’s paintings the houses tucked into the hillside, colorful fishing boats by the water, heroes who fought for and won the country’s independence. Through Haiti’s colors, the girl comes to understand this place her family calls home. And when the moment finally comes to have her own portrait painted for the first time, she begins to see herself in a new way, tracing her own history and identity through her aunt’s brush.