Monday, March 3, 2008

The Art of Freedom: How Artists See America by Bob Raczka

It's Nonfiction Monday! Visit the roundup at Picture Book of the Day!

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press

When I was young, I had little exposure or interest in art. As an adult, I'm surrounded by museums that feature art of various types, and when I visit these museums, I truly appreciate the art but wish I knew more about the history, the technique, and the artists themselves. I should have taken an art history course in college and maybe I'll still do it one of these days. If you have a child who loves art or if you'd like to expose your child to more art, Bob Raczka's Art Adventures series is a great way to introduce art without overwhelming him/her. Through paintings, portraits, photgraphs, sculpture, and easy-to-read text, Bob Raczka introduces some of the world's most famous works of art and encourages young readers to develop an appreciation for it.

A new book in the series, The Art of Freedom: How Artists See America, defines America through the eyes of famous artists. The book features 18 statements answering the question, "What is America?" Each statement is accompanied by a famous work of art that visually represents the statement. Underneath each work of art is the name of the artist, the name of the piece, and the location of where the piece is displayed. For example, beside the statement, "America is an idea," is John Trumbell's painting The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776.
Ansel Adams' Desert Road accompanies the statement, "America is the open road," and Georgia O'Keefe's Brooklyn Bridge is opposite the page that says, "America is man-made marvels."

The background of each page alternates between red and blue with faded stars at the top. The art and colors, combined with the inspiring statements, give the book a very patriotic feel. I can even imagine this book being a great gift choice to US military members as a way to honor their service.

Raczka did an exceptional job of choosing art to compliment the text and makes these famous works of art accessible to young readers without intimidating or overwhelming them, and I am eager to read the other books in the series.


  1. Hi,

    Bob Raczka posts on our group blog I.N.K. Please check it out:


  2. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for stopping by. I've heard the buzz about I.N.K but just now got the chance to look around. It's truly a wonderful blog...I'm adding it to my blogroll and will help spread the word!