From Coretta Scott King Honor recipient G. Neri and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Haidle comes an exploration of love, art, and the gifts that two brilliant creators gave the world.
Their projects made people smile or made them mad. They made people see again.
When they first met, Christo was a poor refugee, and Jeanne-Claude knew nothing about art, but they were both rule-breakers and kindred spirits. Christo’s innovative creations—everyday objects wrapped to make people reconsider them—sparked Jeanne-Claude’s imagination. Thus began their lifelong partnership as husband and wife, and as artistic collaborators whose once-in-a-lifetime public installations captivated viewers and asked: What is art? Who does it belong to? And how can it help us reimagine the world around us? Accompanied by Elizabeth Haidle’s wonderfully stylish illustrations, award-winning author G. Neri takes readers through the remarkable career of a daring duo and a fascinating discussion about the nature of art itself. Realized as an imagined conversation between Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this compelling book features back matter about the couple, an author’s note, a bibliography, and a collection of fun facts about the artists and their work.
About the Author
G. Neri is a Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor winner whose many books for young readers include Hello, I’m Johnny Cash, illustrated by A.G. Ford; When Paul Met Artie, illustrated by David Litchfield; and Ghetto Cowboy and Polo Cowboy, both illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson. His books have been translated into multiple languages in more than twenty-five countries. He lives with his family on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Elizabeth Haidle is the creative director for Illustoria magazine and the illustrator of several books for young readers, including The Girl Who Named Pluto,written by Alice B. McGinty. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
This enlightening picture-book biography is infused with the author’s respect for the unorthodox couple and their artistic legacy. . . . Haidle’s (Before They Were Artists) energetic mixed-media illustrations in an understated earth-tone palette help convey the interactive spirit of the text and reflect artwork’s relationship with the natural world. —The Horn Book (starred review)
Haidle’s vivacious, stylized mixed-media illustrations underscore a sense of the duo’s energy, inquisitiveness, and determination; the visuals, which portray background characters with varying skin tones, culminate with expansive spreads depicting the couple’s remarkable, ephemeral outdoor work. . . a wonderful tribute to coupledom, collaboration, and creativity that offers conceptual thoughts about art. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An author’s note relates that Neri was the last writer to interview Christo before his death in 2020, and his admiration and respect for these two innovators emanates joyfully throughout the pages. . . . Even a cursory perusal of the text will provide readers with a gallery of Christo’s and Jeanne-Claude’s works with labels and dates. A closer read presents a smooth flow of words that unwraps the vitality and passion of two unusual and iconoclastic modern artists. —School Library Connection (starred review)
A glimpse into the passion to create as manifested in the marriage of two 20th-century dynamos. . . . Thoughtful design and substantive content speak volumes about how to appreciate modern art—and its creators. —Kirkus Reviews
The narrative stays lively by featuring a conversation between the artists, showing their passion for their work and the joy they found in reactions to it. . . Haidle’s watercolors do a striking job of illustrating Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s lives and their work. —Booklist
The illustrations, done in mixed media and finished digitally, capture the complicated, challenging, wide-ranging world of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, their lives, process and creations. . . . A fascinating look into the creative process, this title is worthy of addition to most collections for its biographical material as well as its value for engaging young people in a discussion about the nature of art and the artistic process. —School Library Journal