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Children's Fiction Art & Architecture

The Art Lesson

A Shavuot Story

by (author) Allison Marks & Wayne Marks

illustrated by Annie Wilkinson

Lerner Publishing Group
Initial publish date
Jan 2017
Art & Architecture, Multigenerational
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 8
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 6 to 7


Shoshana loves spending time at Grandma Jacobs' art studio and for Shavuot, Grandma Jacobs has a very special art project in mind! Shoshana learns how to make papercuts by carefully folding squares of paper and cutting shapes out of them. But can she create works of art as beautiful as the ones Grandma makes?

About the authors

Allison Marks worked for over two decades as the librarian at Temple Israel in Akron, Ohio. She also reviewed Jewish children’s books for the Association of Jewish Libraries newsletter. Alongside her husband, she has co-written multiple books, such as Og's Ark and The Art Lesson.

Allison Marks' profile page

Wayne Marks has worked as a proofreader and copywriter for 30 years. Wayne plays fiddle in a local Irish group and writes and records novelty tunes with the band, The Brothers Marks, played on the Dr. Demento Show and other podcasts. Together with his wife, he has co-written award-winning children's books.

Wayne Marks' profile page

Annie Wilkinson, the youngest of eight children and the mother of two, was raised in Saskatchewan. She works in a variety of mediums including traditional and digital, creating bright and whimsical illustrations for both books and products. She also has a background in design and as a fine artist, two skills that she calls upon quite frequently when illustrating. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Annie Wilkinson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The Art Lesson: A Shavuot Story by Allison and Wayne Marks, illustrated by Annie Wilkinson. Shoshana’s grandma is an artist, with bright red cat-eye glasses and a cat named Krasner. Every Thursday after school, Shoshana goes to her studio—'like an enchanted forest'—to do art. Grandma J calls her 'my little Chagall,' 'my little Modigliani,' and 'my little Pissarro'; Wilkinson’s simple, sweet illustrations contain nods to each of the artists mentioned. For Shavuot, Grandma J and Shoshana make papercuts. Grandma J creates beautiful roses and Torahs, but all Shoshana sees when she unfolds her paper are ugly holes. Grandma J teaches her to see visions in her abstractions: fields of flowers, schools of fish, honeycombs of bees. And many years later, when Shoshana is an artist herself, she teaches her own granddaughter the lessons of Grandma J. A short afterword explains Shavuot, mentions that Eastern European Jews used to make papercuts to hang in their windows for the holiday—who knew? —and gives instructions for a simple Star of David papercut. It also explains who the Jewish artists named in the text are…including Lee Krasner, who was not, in actual fact, a cat. (Ages 3-6)" - Tablet Mag


"What could be better to bring home the meaning of a Jewish holiday, especially the spring harvest holiday of Shavuot, which shows God’s gift of Torah to the Jewish people, than a book about making art! Shavuot is usually celebrated either by staying up one night of Shavuot studying Torah and/or by creating an art work. This book is about the making of paper cuts depicting various aspects of the holiday and the authors and illustrator show how it can be done. Grandma J is an art teacher who is totally proficient in creating paper cuts of magnificent design. She shares her skill and her love of art with her granddaughter, Shoshana, as they create special designs for Shavuot and skills for a lifetime of creativity. The technique is demonstrated in a series of colorful pictures illustrating the text. A nice touch is that the creation of several pieces are all learned as the reader watches the process of the girl growing up, who later shares what she has learned with her own granddaughter. It is a colorful book with many dimensions and filled with imagination. Don’t be surprised if it inspires creativity in the reader, as well."--Jewish Book Council


Other titles by Annie Wilkinson