Brown, Tami Lewis

Art Is Life: The Life of Artist Keith Haring

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Keith Negley. Two colorful picture-book biographies celebrate the life and art of Keith Haring. In Drawing on Walls, much of the focus is on Haring's art-making as a child and the connection he felt with children throughout his career. Art Is Life is more concerned with his inspiration and process, focusing on a few of the artists who influenced him and the effect he had on New York City's creative scene. Burgess includes more biographical information in his longer text, while Brown favors a shorter and more lyrical style that conveys the feeling of Haring's work rather than details of his life. Negley's mixed-media approach is more graphic, while Cochran uses a childlike cartoonish scrawl, but both illustrators emulate the energy of ­Haring's style in dynamic spreads with bold colors and lines. Both include additional biographical information, with Brown's author's note filling in much of the detail of Haring's life. The illustrators' notes discuss Haring's outsized influence, with both illustrators describing very personal connections to his work. These two books complement each other, with Burgess's the more traditional picture-book biography and Brown's perhaps better suited as a first introduction to Haring or an energetic read-aloud. Review covers these titles: Art Is Life and Drawing on Walls.


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