Vincent van Gogh is now known as an acclaimed, incomparable Post-impressionist painter. But when he lived in Arles, France, in the 1880s, he was mocked for being different. Back then, van Gogh was an eccentric man with wild red hair who used clashing hues to paint unusual-looking people and strange starry skies. Children and adults alike called him names and laughed at him. Nobody bought his art. But he kept painting.
Inspired by these events, The Artist and Me is the fictional confession of one of van Gogh’s bullies — a young boy who adopted the popular attitude of adults around him. It’s not until the boy faces his victim alone that he realizes there is more than one way to see the world.
Artwork in the book uses vibrant color and texture to bring the laneways, cafés, and wheat fields of southern France to life while playing on scenes from van Gogh’s own work. The lyrical text carries the emotional weight of the subject and will leave readers with the understanding that everyone’s point of view is valuable.
"Forthright and self-aware...about the battle between authenticity and conformity, integrity and capitulation--so much a part of growing up."
"Delivers a meaningful message about individuality and tolerance."
"An obvious complement to art curricula, this book could also reinforce anti-bullying discussions at home and in the classroom."
"Poignant... a story about deceptive appearances."
"Low-key yet powerful...simple, resonant, superb."
"Would be an excellent read aloud in an art class to kick off a lesson about Vincent van Gogh or in a regular classroom during a morning meeting about bullies and treating others as you would like to be treated. Recommended."
"Beautifully and sparsely written, as well as vividly illustrated... makes its point quite eloquently."
"Evocative...a useful classroom resource."
"A real-life context for the effects of bullying, which will spark interest and encourage discussion."
"Sincere thanks must go to the authors, illustrators and their publishers for providing children with the opportunity to be inspired by these legendary individuals through such fine publications."
"This beautifully illustrated picture book, easily read by beginning readers...illustrates how children are taught prejudice by their elders. This is a timely concept in today's world."