Mar 4, 2013

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased (CAN, JP, US, INT) 

Written by: Amy Novesky 

Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales

Published by: Harcourt Children's Books

Published on: March 20, 2012

Ages: 4+ 

The blog has been a little quiet for the last few weeks as we were in Hawaii attending a family wedding. I loved spending time in American bookstores. I made quite a few purchases

 I didn't spend all my time inside reading though. We spent lots of time on the beach and exploring the beautiful environs of Hawaii on two different islands. Plus quite a bit of time in ABC stores. Ha!

 We live in the south and it gets hot here in the summer. I've been on hikes with the leader carrying a machete! But it's not as lush as Oahu or Maui, and certainly not in February!

 I can totally see how Hawaii would be an amazing muse for an artist of Georgia O'Keefe's stature. There is just so much beauty and colour throughout the islands- and it can be so different from one part to another. Verdant greenery leads to stark lava fields jutting out into the ocean, and it seems like there are a tonne of different worlds on each island.

 Georgia O'Keeffe memorialized so many of those beautiful views, and her vibrant colours and distinct style pair perfectly with natural setting of Hawaii. A certain pineapple company realized how great her art would be with this muse and brought her over to Hawaii to paint their product. But art isn't always to order, as this company found out, and O'Keeffe was inspired to paint so much else that the company got a little impatient waiting for her pineapple painting.

The joy of this story is not just the illustrations, where Yuyi Morales does O'Keeffe's art justice, but also the story of a woman who follows her heart and is not only successful but also learns when to bend a little bit.

 It is very interesting when picture book biographies take a part of a famous person's life and focus on that, and O'Keeffe's trip to Hawaii provides the perfect opportunity for the creators of this book to introduce the reader to information about art and botany in a very organic way. The ethical dilemma over art and its patron's privileges will appeal to older readers while younger readers will love the vibrant colours.

The only problem with this book is it makes me hungry for fresh pineapple.

This review is for Nonfiction Mondayhosted this week by Supretentorial.


  1. How lucky you got to visit Hawaii. It's an incredible part of the world - isn't it?! I'd imagine Georgia O'Keefe would have loved her trip there. I'm surprised she didn't move there altogether! You're right - her style does pair beautifully with the gorgeous views and plants there.

  2. We love picture book biographies, and this one looks very interesting. This is also a great read while traveling! Thanks for sharing this on Nonfiction Mondays!

  3. Thanks for the lovely review. I'm originally from Hawai'i and interviewed Amy Novesky not too long ago about this title. I hadn't known that Georgia spent time in Hawai'i and found this story fascinating. On my last trip home, I saw 3 of Georgia's Maui paintings at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Beautiful!

  4. Yahoo! I'm so glad you featured this truly wonderful picture book! Amy Novesky is my writing partner -- we both enjoy writing picture book biographies about artists, among other types of writing. I think you might enjoy watching her author trailer ... I love what she says about picture books.. "The writer condenses, the artist expands."

  5. Hawaii!!! Lucky you. I reviewed this wonderful book, too - it was news to me that O'Keefe. Had spent any time in lush Hawaii, but the beauty of the islands must have left a lasting impact on her art.

  6. I love picture book biographies and lately we've been reading a lot of them about artists. I'll have to add this one to the list. Thanks for the review.

  7. I totally didn't know that Georgia O'Keefe spent time in Hawaii. The cover looks so vibrant. Artist biographies are very interesting.

  8. Cool! That sounds wonderful. What a magical way to introduce kids to art, botany, O'keefe and all sorts of wonders!
    Also, hi. I haven't been here for a while. But hi. Missed you!
    And, hope you're having the best time ever in Hawaii. Eating up all the bookstore time you can. (Though, wouldn't you agree that Canadian bookstores are better than American ones? I'm not just saying that because I'm Canadian, but because I speak the truth. I find that in the US ones, well the ones I know anyway, there are more character books {like the cartoon marketing variety}. I always find a new, unknown treasure in the Canadian stores.)

    1. haha, I gave my kids free reign, "go buy whatever you want" I said and then my daughter chose a Barbie book. Nice to see you again Erica!!


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