A powerful exploration of emotions and their expression in a wonderful blend of words and art. I can imagine children reading this lively poem by Maya Angelou their bravery strengthening as they repeat the line ‘Life doesn’t frighten me at all’.The poem invites us to read it aloud and conquer our fears and feel proud. Jean-Michel’s Basquiat’s edgy and colourful streetwise paintings add great power to Angelou’s refrain ‘Life doesn’t frighten me at all’. The conversation between word and image, encourages discussion and questions for the reader about fears and overcoming them.
Two short biographies are useful in setting a context for the reader. This book introduces younger readers to the paintings of Basquiat which express a range of emotions that weave together the rhythms and textures of the city, making this book an interesting challenge for children and adults.. Influenced by television, film, politics, sport, old photographs and the music of Jazz, Rock and Hip Hop, Basquiat created the tag SAMOc and drew and painted on
buildings’ walls throughout lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. His canvases reflect influences of the city with African, French, Latino-Caribbean traditions, featuring people of colour that had rarely been shown in modern American Art. .
I think this book will inspire children to write poems about conquering their fears and paint expressive, bold and brave images of their emotions. I am sure some children will embody some of the images like the dragon on the front cover (reminiscent of the monsters in ‘Where the wild things are‘) and cathartically stomp and shout out their fears.