Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Summary: As a child growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn had two passions: art and justice. These continued after he and his family immigrated to America when he was 8 years old. Lacking the funds to attend college, Ben apprenticed himself to a lithographer and studied art at night. He worried that the art that he learned about in school was different from what he wanted to paint: stories. In 1927, outraged by the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, Ben created 23 paintings to tell their stories. Later he was hired by the U.S. government to document the poverty of the Great Depression through photographs and paintings. He continued to create stories with his art through the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War until his death in 1969. Includes notes from the author and illustrator; a photo of Ben Shahn; a timeline of his life; and a bibliography and source notes. 48 pages; grades 1-5.
Pros: An engagingly written story of Ben Shahn’s life, focusing on both his art and his passion for justice. His work influenced the illustrations of Evan Turk, whom I think we can all agree should finally get some Caldecott recognition.
Cons: None of Shahn’s art was included.