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.