Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas (Jeanne Walker Harvey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, written by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Loveis Wise, a beautiful biography of an immensely inspiring artist.

Nothing brought young Alma Thomas more joy than exploring the glorious colors of nature in the flowering fields surround her childhood home. She developed her artistic pursuits from a young age, forming bowls and cups out of riverbank clay and baking them in the sun. Segregation in 1900’s Georgia kept her from attending school, but her parents filled their home with books and scholarly pursuits, eventually moving the family to Washington D.C. so their daughters could receive formal education. Alma’s passions for art and teaching combined, and she spent most of her life bringing the arts to black schools and neighborhoods. Finally, in her later years, she retired from teaching and began focusing on her own art, gaining recognition for the colorful abstract art she created, works inspired by her childhood and her passions for nature, culture, and progress.

A celebratory and empowering life story. Candidly, I was not familiar with Thomas or her work before reading this title, but this account of her life’s works has made me a fan. I was especially pleased that the story noted how Thomas’s widespread acclaim did not occur until her senior years, reminding readers that its never too late to try new things and chase new dreams. Harvey’s text expertly walks the tightrope of lyrical and informational, perfect for telling the story of a lifelong creative like Thomas. Wise’s artwork beautifully incorporates the colors and themes of Thomas’s work while maintaining a distinctive, grounded style. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both really enjoyed it. Overall, an exciting tale about a lesser-known artist, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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