Louise Bourgeois

Quarto/Frances Lincoln. (Little People, Big Dreams). Oct. 2020. 32p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780711246904.
PreS-Gr 2–“Little People, Big Dreams” provides accessible biographies for young children, with beautiful illustrations and simple, narrative story lines. This title centers on Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), a white French American artist. The text features rich colors and critical ideas. It also does a great job gently touching on issues that teachers may choose to discuss with students. For example, Bourgeois’s father wanted a son. She was “not the gift-wrapped boy her father had wanted her to be.” Additionally, Sánchez Vegara mentions that Bourgeois’s work wasn’t always pretty. Sometimes her art was disturbing. Educators could use this title to explore art and inspire conversation and reflection. Students could be compelled to question cultural and social norms, which is an important facet of critical thinking. Bourgeois used her art to cope with difficulties; discussion about art as a therapeutic refuge and/or self-care could be a tool for social emotional learning. This title focuses on the experience of one French American woman and, as such, omits diverse voices and perspectives. This work is enjoyable, but if your collection has an overrepresentation of white protagonists, consider other titles in the series as well. A time line in the back matter provides further information.
VERDICT Recommended. A beautiful biography for early grades that focuses on a less familiar artist and features several critical themes.

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