1. SELF-PORTRAIT is a biography of artist Marc Chagall.
3. SELF-PORTRAIT is written in verse, but each page also contains a block of text detailing biographical information from that period of Chagall's life.
4. SELF-PORTRAIT is written by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, two of the foremost authors in children's literature/poetry.
2. SELF-PORTRAIT is illustrated with Chagall's paintings, as well as an occasional photograph.
Need I say more? Probably not, but I will, a little anyway. SELF-PORTRAIT IN SEVEN FINGERS is one of those books where poetry, nonfiction, art, and photography are pretty much perfectly melded. Lewis and Yolen have taken a series of Chagall's paintings, and crafted 14 poems, each about a different period in the artist's life. Each two page spread includes the painting, a poem, and a block of text with biographical information about that chunk of Chagall's life. Many of the pages also include a glossary type definition of an unfamiliar Yiddish word. The finished product is rich and multi-textured and really fascinating. And yes, it would be perfect for an art class for any age student, from very young (ok, you would probably have to paraphrase a little with very young kids, but I really think they could get it). I'm also considering using it as the main mentor text for a multi-genre biography project with my fourth graders.
On a completely different note, and maybe just because I'm really nosy, I'm fascinated by the collaboration between J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. I would love to know how this project came about. What inspired the topic? Format? How did they decide on who what would write what? What was the actual process of writing the book like? Did they email back and forth every day? Or…??????? And I wonder if they have any more collaborations planned…