cover image Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Jeanne Walker Harvey, illus. by Loveis Wise. HarperCollins, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 9

This bright profile centers Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891–1978), who broke ground as the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at New York City’s Whitney Museum and to have artwork displayed in the White House. Harvey employs a poetic voice, rich with alliteration and rhythm, as the narrative follows Thomas through a creative childhood (“Her aunts painted petals and patterns,/ and Alma dipped her brush in tiny pots”); a move from Georgia to Washington, D.C.; years teaching art in segregated schools; an eventual shift to focus on her own art at almost 70 years old; and resulting accomplishments. Wise’s fluid digital art employs vivid strokes, patterns, colors, and reproductions that pay winning homage to Thomas in this comprehensive biography of a celebrated, trailblazing 20th-century painter. Back matter includes creators’ notes, photographs, and a timeline of Alma’s life alongside events in the U.S. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)