CAN, JP, US, INT)
Written by: Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by: Mark Lang
Published by: Tundra Books
Published on: May 2011
Today is International Women's Day. To celebrate, I wanted to find a picture book that celebrated a Japanese or Canadian woman in history. Quite a few Canadian books to choose from, including Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged, which I reviewed last month. I did not find anything suitable in Japanese though, so I will be looking more. I chose this book because I love Maud Lewis' folk art.
Capturing Joy is a celebration of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. It starts with Maud in a rural area in Nova Scotia meeting her future husband, but takes the reader back to her childhood of art and illness. Nothing, not even poverty or great physical limitations, stops Maud from expressing herself with bright colours. Although she was never a financial success during her life, her style influenced artists and Canadians for decades, and this continues to this day.
Last year I reviewed the wonderful Big and Small, Room for All, also by Jo Ellen Bogart, and have kept an eye open for books by her since. In both books Bogart is able to take large concepts and simplify them for young folks but keep the subject interesting.
This book alternates between Maud Lewis' gorgeous paintings and illustrator Mark Lang's pencil sketches. Lang's work is a tribute to her but does not parody her work, so important when chronicling an artist. Lewis' bold palette is especially appealing to children.
I was inspired to learn more about the amazing Maud Lewis and her work ethic, so I found out that The National Film Board of Canada has a short documentary about Maud Lewis called Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows, from Diane Beaudry in 1976. Definitely worth watching.
This is the 30th book I have read for the 5th Canadian Book Challenge.