Two recent picture book biographies will not only appeal to art &
architecture fans, but might just inspire a young person to take a
closer look at the world around them:
BUILDING ON NATURE: The Life of Antoni Gaudi by Rachel Rodriguez explores the childhood inspirations of the Catalonian architect and how they affected his work. Young Gaudi was fascinated by honeycombs, leaf patterns and other natural phenomena. It was these early interests that would become vaulting cathedral walls and strange curving chimneys, and readers will love to explore the buildings he created (even if only on the page). Julie Paschkis has done a stunning job incorporating the sinewy grace and movement that characterizes Art Nouveau style with child-friendly details. You'll feel like you are inside one of Gaudi's own creations!
EAST-WEST HOUSE: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan by Christy Hale focuses on the early years of architect Isamu Noguchi. Isamu was born to a Japanese father and a white American mother and raised partly in Japan, where he was bullied for being gaijin (a foreigner). Like Gaudi, young Isamu turned to the beauty of the natural world and made it an inspiration for his art. His mother was supportive of Isamu's artistic bent and allowed him, at age 8, to help design their home. It would be known as the East-West house, and would combine elements of traditional Japanese and Western design. And the book itself does the same - Hale's wonderful collages manage to evoke both traditional Japanese woodblock art and Midcentury American cool. Simply gorgeous.