cover image Sister Corita’s Words and Shapes

Sister Corita’s Words and Shapes

Jeanette Winter. Beach Lane, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9601-9

Winter’s biographical narrative of Sister Corita Kent (1918–1986) depicts her art as “letters and words and shapes and writing” that “tell us what she believes—she believes in Goodness and in God.” Straightforward language tells a simple story of a woman who becomes a nun in California, shows “her students a new way of seeing” by breaking the world down into details, and runs afoul of an archbishop after assembling a colorful St. Mary’s Day celebration. (Younger readers unfamiliar with Catholicism may need outside resources.) By the time Kent renounces convent life and heads to Boston to make art, it’s clear that she has become famous, though not exactly how. Because the narrative omits some important context—particularly mention of mid-century conflicts that made Kent’s faith in goodness meaningful and her radically democratic artistic choices resonant—readers may have a hard time grasping the significance of her work. Digital illustrations offer a loose, stylized version of Kent’s art style in fresh hues, including some of the source material that inspired her. Back matter includes biographical information and Kent’s rules for her students. Ages 3–8. (Sept.)