Sister Corita’s Words and Shapes

S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534496019.
K-Gr 3–The author of numerous picture book art biographies turns her attention to Sister Corita (1918–86)—artist, educator, and activist whose silkscreens, with their messages of love, peace, and social justice, were ubiquitous in the 1960s and early 1970s. Inspired by the era in which she lived, Sister Corita employed vibrant colors and, at times, snippets of consumer logos typical of Pop Art in her work, along with words and quotes in response to the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement. The author describes the innovative educator as a “tiny whirlwind” who encouraged her students to “find the details in the larger picture.” Her progressive ideas at Immaculate Heart College caused the archbishop of Los Angeles to call them “blasphemous,” and she left the convent soon after. Winter’s signature style is in evidence here: one or two simple sentences per page that capture the spirit of the person and time, and shallow-stage scenes against a white background. With a nod to the artist, she incorporates words into most of the illustrations, and often makes bold color choices. Winter includes Sister Corita’s “10 Rules” for students, which offer a glimpse into the woman’s teaching methods, comments on the new openness of the Catholic Church after Vatican II, and a brief, selected bibliography.
VERDICT Parochial schools will want this title, as well as libraries where there is a need for books about artists, activists, and those who lead a religious life.

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