Sometimes a book is just too beautiful to be believed. Such is the case with this biography of Louise Bourgeois.
Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Abrams Books for Young Readers March 2016)
Everything about this book is beauty. The navy fabric feeling spine detail. The colours and patterns throughout the book. Red has never seemed so delicate. The blues. The lines. The depiction of Bourgeois’ art. Arsenault is brilliant.
And then there is the story. I think this might well be my favourite picture book biography of the year. Novesky writes in such a lyrical way that reading the text truly feels like being lulled by a lullaby. The reader is pulled into the story of a young girl on the meandering road by a river that leads her to life as an artist. We learn about her strong connection and devotion to her mother (Maman). Her growing skill as an expert weaver in the family business. Her aptitude for mathematics.
Louise’s greatest pieces – huge sculptures made of steel, bronze and marble were of spiders and were woven into being from the grief she felt at losing her beloved mother.
The connection between weaving and repairing, weaving and creating, weaving and healing are literally woven through the story.
So often we hear how artists create art in response to strong emotions. This book reveals how sadness and grief are transformed into powerful and stunning pieces.
A detailed author’s note is included in the back of the book
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!