Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

Published by Albert Whitman and Company

Summary:  Born in 1915 in Kansas, Gordon Parks grew up hearing from his white teachers that he was destined to be a porter or a waiter.  He did indeed become a waiter, but the purchase of a $7.50 camera put him on the road to a new career as a photographer.  He worked for the Farm Security Administration, Life, and Vogue, and was the first African American to direct a feature film.  He used his photos to work for human rights, exposing the plight of African Americans in big cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Pros:  The lyrical writing and colorful illustrations are a perfect match.  I love biographies like this that teach about a little-known person who made contributions to both art and humanitarianism.

Cons:  The spare text gives only the bare bones of Parks’ life.  Be sure to read the author’s note at the end.

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