Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
Maud Lewis was born into a loving Nova Scotia family who accepted her physical limitations. When her parents died and she was forced to find her own way in the world, she married and set up a modest household in a small cabin. Despite the hardships she faced, she was able to find joy in her life, a joy that she expressed through her art. She painted canvases of animals, children, and her surroundings. Her art spilled over into everything from dust pans to the walls of her house. Maud Lewis died in 1970, but her wonderful, life-affirming art lives on and is treasured by people who understand and appreciate folk art all over the world.
About the authors
Jo Ellen Bogart was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in several Texas cities, but for the last 32 years, she has lived in Guelph, Ontario AKA Children's Author Central. She really enjoys running into writers and artists at the grocery store.
Jo Ellen has always been an animal lover and pet keeper, but her current pet list is down to two dogs, two frogs, and a ton of fish, most of which vacation in the backyard pond and winter in the Bogart basement, supervising the laundry.
Part of the fun Jo Ellen has in writing books for children is venturing into many different kinds of writing, from poetry and picture books to biography, non-fiction, and early readers. She has also written lots of song lyrics for kids, and is trying her hand at painting. Jo Ellen really likes to take digital pictures and play around with them on the computer.
Jo Ellen has a teaching degree from the University of Texas and has worked as a supply teacher. Though she no longer teaches, she really enjoys meeting her young readers and seeing what they have to say. Her own two kids are grown but she has a new baby grandson and is amassing stacks of books for the future reader.
“More than an account of a fascinating life, Bogart’s introduction to this Canadian painter is a lesson in self-determination…A lovely and inspiring book.”
–School Library Journal
“…charming and exquisite…this book makes a beautiful addition to any art lovers bookcase. It is also a delightful souvenir of Nova Scotia, a celebration of our rich artistry and artistic heritage…Overall, a lovely book.”
“…a tale that works at every level…it will appeal to everyone for so many reasons.”
“Jo Ellen Bogart tells Lewis’ story with empathy and insight…”
–Quill & Quire
“[The] text is simply written but interesting and accessible to young readers.”
“…to be easily understood for young readers.”
“…the young reader is never overwhelmed with biographical detail, but is left free to absorb the essentials of Maud’s life little by little. Soft-edge pencil drawings by Mark Lang add welcome additional details to this excellent picture biography.”
“…an exceptional book.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“It is a particular pleasure to read how Bogart deals with the ‘artistic’ aspect of the book – discussing Lewis’ style in a meaningful way…The book deliciously treats readers to views of 13 of Lewis’ riotously delightful tableaux… [Lang’s] realistic drawings in pencil provide a gentle visual commentary about Lewis’ life.”
–The Guelph Mercury
“Bogart handles the story of Lewis’s difficult and impoverished life with great tact. Her declarative style says more than the mere words ever could…a lovely picture book…[that] will inspire curiosity about and admiration for this remarkable woman.”
“…this beautifully-crafted picture book captures the heightened delight with which Maud Lewis viewed the world outside her small window.”
–The New Brunswick Reader