I think books can be a wonderful tool to open our eyes to other cultures and different things that we might not necessarily know a lot about.
Frances Lincoln sent me two books recently that do just that, the first The Fire Children is a retelling of a West African folk tale. It tells the story of the creation of the earth and how the Earth was filled with children.
What I liked about this is that the illustrations are really lovely (they’re described as gauche in the press release) and when Daniel and Emma are a little older we will be reading this and making some masks to match Nyame the sky god. Daniel and Emma aren’t really aware of the differences in peoples appearance (black, white etc) at the moment – I don’t think that kids ever really do notice those sorts of thing at a young age. But when they do then this will be a nice way to introduce them to a different culture. I also liked the map at the end of the book as that then allows a bit of discussion about the different countries and cultures.
The second book we were sent Cézanne and the Apple Boy. This book by Laurence Anholt is the seventh in a series of books that looks at famous painters and their work. Other titles include Degas, Picasso and Monet to name a few.
Now, I must be honest and admit that I am not hugely into art. Yes, I’ve been to art galleries and the such but I just don’t ‘get’ art. I quite like religious art (to an extent) and in some of the churches we have been to in Barcelona and Rome the art is familiar in a way as it depicts stories from the bible that I have a familiarity with. I must admit I hadn’t heard of Cezanne before reading this book, however he was a leading figure in the development of modern art and I found his story truly fascinating.
I guess Cezanne would be termed a little reclusive, but the biography at the back of the book explains a little more about him, his life and his work. I never really understand what drives someone to paint and I guess art is often quite subjective, the Turner Prize often throws up winners who create visual works of art that many would suggest aren’t art as such.
What this book does really nicely is mesh the work of Cezanne alongside the illustrations of the story. It’s lovely and I think we will be adding a few more of these books to our library in the future as they are a lovely introduction to the world of art. We are fortunate that, should Daniel and Emma display an interest in art, we are close to some wonderful galleries where we can take them.