A Splash of Red

The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today by Wrapped In Foil
and joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

(pub. 1.8.2013) 40 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Jen Bryant
     and Illustrator: Melissa Sweet

haracter: Horace Pippin

O verview from the publisher: 

     "As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw...He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country..."

T antalizing taste: 

         "Then, if he could find a scrap of paper and a piece of charcoal, he drew pictures of what he'd seen that day.
        Horace loved to draw. He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive in front of him. He loved thinking about a friend or a pet, then drawing them from the picture in his mind."
and something more: I was intrigued to read the collaborative efforts behind A Splash of Red. Melissa Sweet recounts the background in her Illustrator's Note: "Typically, authors and illustrators stay fairly separate when making a picture book, but after Jen [Bryant] wrote this text, we bucked the tide by researching Horace Pippin together. Driving through the back roads of eastern Pennsylvania, we shared what we both knew and loved about art and Pippin." 
          And, as Jen Bryant explains in her Author's Note: ".... once the story was written, Melissa and I retraced many of these paths [of her earlier research] and forged some new ones. We were inspired and amazed by the very real struggles in Horace Pippin's life and the incredible, simple elegance of his work. Through his art, he transcended personal loss, injury, poverty, violence, and racism, producing a body of work that remains wholly original and deeply American"... AND inspiring!


Jeff Barger said...

Our class should spend a week reading picture book biographies of artists. There have been so many good ones in the last few years. Thank you for the something more and letting us know about this book.

Cathy Mealey said...

I love the unusual collaboration between Jen and Melissa to further research their subject. Art - and research - are more interesting and engaging when shared with someone else!

Linda at teacherdance said...

It really does sound like a special book, Jeanne. Thanks for that 'extra' about it!

Tammy Flanders said...

I've just ordered this one and can't wait to see it.
Apples with Many Seeds

Roberta said...


Sounds like a Horace had amazing talent and perseverance. It would be a great book to share for Art Common Core.

Fascinating information about the collaboration between Jen Bryant and the recently very prolific Melissa Sweet, too.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Jeff, I think that's a great idea -- a picture biography of artists week! Thanks for stopping by

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Yes, Cathy, I agree -- that would be such a fun endeavor to work with someone else (road trip and all) on a picture book project.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Glad you liked the "something more."

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Tammy, I think you'll enjoy the book! Thanks for stopping by.

Debra said...

I also enjoyed reading how the authors researched information for the book and took a road trip. I think it really added to the story and think students can learn a lot from their writing and illustration process. I am a big fan of Melissa Sweet's illustrations.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Roberta, Yes, I think this book fits in well with the Common Core Curriculum. Thanks for stopping by

melissa sweet said...

Hi Jeanne, Thank you for this wonderful post! We're thrilled you liked A Splash of Red. I wanted to share with you the website for this book:http://asplashofredbook.com/, where you can find a Discussion Guide that includes Common Core Curriculum. Also, the video on the homepage was created by students in Philadelphia and is a great introduction to Horace Pippin.
All best and thank you again, Melissa Sweet

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa! Yes! The website for the book is terrific (I included it in my "something more" section) -- lots of great information. And, you can see you have many fans who've already stopped by here today :) Congratulations on yet another wonderful book!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Debra, Yes! I'm a fan too.. and guess who stopped by? Melissa Sweet! Check out the book's website for lots more interesting information.

laurasalas said...

I'm always a fan of Jen Bryant's writing, and this looks terrific. So interesting to hear about the collaborative research--unusual. This is already on my tbr list, but I'm bumping it up several notches. Thanks for the recommendation!

Julie Azzam said...

Thanks for contributing this intriguing review to this month's Carnival of Children's Literature. I had not heard of this book, but you've definitely got me interested in reading it now. Loved the behind the scenes details about the collaborative efforts of the author/ illustrator.

Resh said...

Looks like an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing on the Carnival!

Books4Learning said...

I just finished reading this one too. It is such an inspiring story!