Make Meatballs Sing: The Life and Art of Corita Kent

Enchanted Lion. Aug. 2021. 80p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781592703166.
PreS-Gr 2–The idea that art is for everyone is at the heart of this picture book biography about pop artist, activist, teacher, and nun Sister Mary Corita Kent. Born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Hollywood, CA, in 1918, she was inspired by a nun who gave her art lessons in sixth grade, and by her father who encouraged her to create original art. After taking her vows, Kent divided her time between teaching art to school children and training young nuns to be teachers. She studied art history, learned printmaking, and specialized in silkscreen printing, or serigraphy. Kent invented the word plork, a combination of the words play and work to describe her approach to creating art. She used her artwork to speak out about injustice, poverty, and war. At age 50, Kent asked to be released from her vows and moved to Boston, where she was commissioned to paint a tank for the Boston Gas Company that became the largest copyrighted work of art in the world. Her continued success led to the opportunity to design a stamp for the United States Postal Service. Kent’s design included a rainbow, which she used as a symbol of love, hope, and kindness. Back matter includes a chronology and notes by the author and illustrator. The vibrant artwork supports the text and incorporates quotes by Kent as it takes inspiration from her style.
VERDICT An invitation to create and explore self-expression all wrapped up in the celebration of an artist kids aren’t likely to have encountered yet; a highly recommended purchase for biography collections.

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