cover image Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring

Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring

Matthew Burgess, illus. by Josh Cochran. Enchanted Lion, $18.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59270-267-1

In this picture book biography about artist and muralist Haring, Burgess and Cochran relate their subject’s path to focusing his inexorable drive. Via straightforward language, Burgess describes Haring discovering Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit in college (“He felt as if the book was speaking directly to him”), encountering the large paintings of Pierre Alechinsky (he was “blown away”), and recognizing a common impulse in dancers at the West Village’s Paradise Garage (“For Keith, drawing and painting were like dancing. He called it ‘mind-to-hand flow’”). Cochran uses a thick black line to suggest Haring’s creations, and renders figures in a Haring-esque style without seeming gimmicky. Of interest to young readers are Haring’s frequent efforts to involve children in mural-making projects. The story, including a respectful acknowledgement of Haring’s death from AIDS, makes the subject seem immediate and real—and presents a compelling vision of answering the call to create. Ages 6–14. [em](May) [/em]