StoryMakers with Vanessa Brantley-Newton
StoryMakers’ host Rocco Staino interviews Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the illustrator of THE YOUNGEST MARCHER and many other picture books! On this episode discover how Vanessa overcame her challenges and be inspired by her story, books, and illustrations.
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ABOUT THE BOOKS
THE YOUNGEST MARCHER Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference. Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else. So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails! she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!
SEWING STORIES Harriet Powers learned to sew and quilt as a young slave girl on a Georgia plantation. She lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and eventually owned a cotton farm with her family, all the while relying on her skills with the needle to clothe and feed her children. Later she began making pictorial quilts, using each square to illustrate Bible stories and local legends. She exhibited her quilts at local cotton fairs, and though she never traveled outside of Georgia, her quilts are now priceless examples of African American folk art.
GRANDMA’S PURSE When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there–fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!
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Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement and attended school in Newark, NJ. Being part of a diverse, tight-knit community during such turbulent times, Vanessa learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment in shaping a young person’s life. When she read Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.