Alznauer, Amy

Flying Paintings: The Zhou Brothers: A Story of Revolution and Art

(2) K-3 Illustrated by ShanZuo Zhou & DaHuang Zhou. Alznauer (The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity, rev. 3/20) has written an impressionistic picture-book biography illustrated by the book's subjects, contemporary painters the Zhou brothers. Born just after the onset of the People's Republic of China, the brothers (then known as Shaoli and Shaoning) learned at an early age that "the world is a beautiful and terrible place." Their parents were detained by the government, and their beloved grandmother, Po Po, closed the family bookstore after multiple raids and book burnings. Battling adversity, from poverty to art-school rejection to their own contentious working relationship, the brothers sought inspiration from ancient Huashan cliff paintings. Creatively renewed, they continued to work together on the same canvases and eventually gained recognition for their expressive art. Relocating to Chicago, the brothers still continue to produce art and (per the appended author's note) "share their story to give other artists, even very young artists, the courage to struggle through their own mix of love and trouble until a new magic is born." Alznauer's engaging text moves briskly, focusing primarily on the brothers' relationship (if providing little context for the Cultural Revolution). Readers will be captivated by the book's artful design and vivid ink and watercolor illustrations that seamlessly move between intimate family portraits and expansive, expressionistic double-page landscapes. A unique biography that conveys the scope and importance of the subjects' work through original illustrations by the artists themselves.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

This coverage is free for all visitors. Your support makes this possible.

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.