Beautiful Shades of Brown
Growing up in the late 19th century, Laura Wheeler Waring didn't see any artists who looked like her. She didn't see any paintings of people who looked like her, either. As a young woman studying art in Paris, she found inspiration in the works of Matisse and Gaugin to paint the people she knew best. Back in Philadelphia, the Harmon Foundation commissioned her to paint portraits of accomplished African-Americans. Her portraits still hang in Washington DC's National Portrait Gallery, where children of all races can admire the beautiful shades of brown she captured.

Beautiful Shades of Brown Details

TitleBeautiful Shades of Brown
Author
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherCreston Books
ISBN-139781939547651
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Art, Biography, Nonfiction, History

Beautiful Shades of Brown Review

  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    This picture book for ages 7-11 is stunning. It's about the Black female painter Laura Wheeler Waring who isn't well known but really should be. She started painting friends and family as a young girl, wanting to showcase people who looked like her and her siblings and hoped to have her paintings in museums. She studied in Paris and was commissioned to paint a ton of important, influential African-American people like WEB DuBois and opera singer Marian Anderson during the Harlem Renaissance. The This picture book for ages 7-11 is stunning. It's about the Black female painter Laura Wheeler Waring who isn't well known but really should be. She started painting friends and family as a young girl, wanting to showcase people who looked like her and her siblings and hoped to have her paintings in museums. She studied in Paris and was commissioned to paint a ton of important, influential African-American people like WEB DuBois and opera singer Marian Anderson during the Harlem Renaissance. The artwork (all paintings!) in the book is gorgeous. I can't recommend this book enough. It's a great book for art lovers of all ages and for anyone who wants to learn more about an African-American woman who achieved her dreams.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I am loving the trend of picture book biographies about lesser-known people. Each one is a reminder of everything I do not yet know. I am also reminded that the well-known people from history have been chosen, publicized, and popularized, but are not necessarily more worthy of reknown.This portrayal of a young artist from Connecticut focuses mostly on Waring's artistic journey. From an artistic perspective, the lack of African-American portraits and painters played a big role in Waring's I am loving the trend of picture book biographies about lesser-known people. Each one is a reminder of everything I do not yet know. I am also reminded that the well-known people from history have been chosen, publicized, and popularized, but are not necessarily more worthy of reknown.This portrayal of a young artist from Connecticut focuses mostly on Waring's artistic journey. From an artistic perspective, the lack of African-American portraits and painters played a big role in Waring's journey. Otherwise neither racism nor sexism play a big role in this story, except a casual mention of segregation. Reproductions of some of Waring's work are included, as is a timeline of her life.
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  • Jeanette Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Marshalls illustrations capture the look and feeling of paintings by early 20th century painter Laura Wheeler Waring. The text keeps this biography focused on Warings art, and her mixing colors to paint famous African-American subjects is related with joyful celebration of luminous brown tones. A perfect pairing of text & art, the biography ends with reproductions of several of Warings portraits that hang in the Smithsonian. A fantastic spotlight on art history, that places Waring in Marshall’s illustrations capture the look and feeling of paintings by early 20th century painter Laura Wheeler Waring. The text keeps this biography focused on Waring’s art, and her mixing colors to paint famous African-American subjects is related with joyful celebration of “luminous brown tones.” A perfect pairing of text & art, the biography ends with reproductions of several of Waring’s portraits that hang in the Smithsonian. A fantastic spotlight on art history, that places Waring in historical context while also delving into her artistic process & growth. (This review is based on an advance reader copy of the book)
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  • Iggi
    January 1, 1970
    An okay intro-biography for the Harlem Renaissance painter, and the only result on Goodread's catalog for Laura Wheeler Waring at all. It's nice there is a book about her, but the writing is dry, difficult to spot on the page, and doesn't seem to go along with the lovely illustrations much. Not one for my storytimes unfortunately.Age: Upper elementary+Plot: a light biography of Laura Wheeler WaringThemes: brown skin is beautiful, art making, breaking boundariesLength: Medium-longWordiness: High An okay intro-biography for the Harlem Renaissance painter, and the only result on Goodread's catalog for Laura Wheeler Waring at all. It's nice there is a book about her, but the writing is dry, difficult to spot on the page, and doesn't seem to go along with the lovely illustrations much. Not one for my storytimes unfortunately.Age: Upper elementary+Plot: a light biography of Laura Wheeler WaringThemes: brown skin is beautiful, art making, breaking boundariesLength: Medium-longWordiness: HighIllustrations: gorgeous paintings done by Felicia Marshall in the style of Laura Wheeler Warring
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  • Tina Cho
    January 1, 1970
    Churnin writes another beautiful picture book biography this time of Laura Wheeler Waring, who moved barriers to paint portraits of African Americans like her family. Her dream was to see African American paintings in museums so that African American children could see themselves on the walls. In beautiful language, Churnin describes Lauras passion and determination to succeed. My favorite line: Brown was a rainbow, with orange, and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing hide and seek. Churnin writes another beautiful picture book biography this time of Laura Wheeler Waring, who moved barriers to paint portraits of African Americans like her family. Her dream was to see African American paintings in museums so that African American children could see themselves on the walls. In beautiful language, Churnin describes Laura’s passion and determination to succeed. My favorite line: “Brown was a rainbow, with orange, and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing hide and seek.” Marshall’s paintings bring this story to life.
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  • Christine Mcdonnell
    January 1, 1970
    Laura Wheeler, an African American artist, painted the portraits of African Americans showing the beauty of all the shades of brown skin. She discovered that brown holds many colors within it. Marian Anderson posed for her: Day after day, Marian posed. Laura mixed shades of brown. Burnt umber with yellow and dabs of white. No, that wasnt it. How about a little green and violet? Closer. Laura wiped her paint-spattered forehead. Traces of red and cerulean blue? The resulting portrait traveled Laura Wheeler, an African American artist, painted the portraits of African Americans showing the beauty of all the shades of brown skin. She discovered that brown holds many colors within it. Marian Anderson posed for her: “Day after day, Marian posed. Laura mixed shades of brown. Burnt umber with yellow and dabs of white. No, that wasn’t it. How about a little green and violet? Closer. Laura wiped her paint-spattered forehead. Traces of red and cerulean blue?” The resulting portrait traveled around the country.This celebration of color is captured in clear, elegant language. It is an inspiring story of a an African American girl determined to become an artist to show the world the beauty of brown. An important book!
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  • Jenna Grodzicki
    January 1, 1970
    A moving portrayal of the life and accomplishments of artist Laura Wheeler Waring. From a very young age, Laura knew she wanted to paint portraits. Despite many obstacles, including racial segregation, Laura worked hard to get herself accepted into art school and a scholarship to study in Paris. Her art helped break down racial barriers and still hangs in the Smithsonian Institution today. A must have for any classroom or library collection.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Read it. Id never heard of Laura Wheeler Waring, so this was a learning experience as well as a delight. I especially appreciated the inclusion of reproductions of some of her paintings at the end of the book. Her Marian Anderson portrait is gorgeous! Read it. I’d never heard of Laura Wheeler Waring, so this was a learning experience as well as a delight. I especially appreciated the inclusion of reproductions of some of her paintings at the end of the book. Her Marian Anderson portrait is gorgeous!
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  • Annese
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations are beautiful!! I hope to see Laura Wheeler Waring's work up close one day, but Felicia Marshall really did her justice. I was not as moved by the text. I want more info! Even the timeline in the back offers more information about Marian Anderson than the focus of the book.
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  • Kataneh Vahdani
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful book! Sometimes when I start reading picture books, after few pages I start of understand the story line and get attached. But when I started reading "Beautiful shaded of brown", after the second page when she talked about rainbows, I was hooked! The story is powerful and it is an easy read and the illustrations are stunning. Highly recommend this book to those who want to inspire their children to follow their dreams and also be inspired.
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  • Lauren Kerstein
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful, resonant book that illuminates the life and critical contributions of Laura Wheeler Waring.
  • Amalia Hoffman
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of the African-American artist, Laura Wheeler.Laura loves to paint her family members. Experimenting with color combinations, shes excited to find out that there are so many shades of brown to match her sisters cheeks, her mothers hair and all of her familys skin colors. Laura dreams that one day her paintings will hang on museums walls but That is a crazy idea for a 10-year-old... because in 1897, African-American portraits dont appear on museums walls!Still, Laura turns her This is the story of the African-American artist, Laura Wheeler.Laura loves to paint her family members. Experimenting with color combinations, she’s excited to find out that there are so many shades of brown to match her sister’s cheeks, her mother’s hair and all of her family’s skin colors. Laura dreams that one day her paintings will hang on museum’s walls but “That is a crazy idea for a 10-year-old...” because in 1897, African-American portraits don’t appear on museum’s walls!Still, Laura turns her bedroom into her own museum, inviting family members to admire her art.In her determination to become a professional artist, she leaves her beloved family and boards a ship for Paris, the center of the art world. Even though most of the students are white, Laura marvels at the art of many masters and hones her own painting skills.When she meets the African-American singer, Marian Anderson, Laura gets the chance to paint the singer in wonderful shades of brown. She also paints many other notable African-Americans. Her dream finally comes true when the Smithsonian Institution exhibits her paintings at the National Portrait Gallery.Beautifully told, author Nancy Churnin manages to paint-with-words the African-Americans’ struggle to achieve recognition in the arts.The illustrations are drop dead gorgeous. I would have loved to have one of the paintings on my own walls. In the author’s Notes, Churnin expresses thanks to artist, Madeline Murphy Rabb, the granddaughter of Laura’s brother, Arthur Edward Wheeler, for her help in writing Laura’s story and for granting permission to share Laura’s paintings from the Smithsonian.A special bonus is the timetable and the reproductions of the actual paintings at the end of the book. A great addition to books about diversity and inspiring read for aspiring young artists.Highly recommended!
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  • Kristian Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    This was an incredible book ❤ This was an incredible book ❤️
  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    This gorgeous picture book introduces young readers (and their adults) to an important artist, a pioneer who who helped bring representation to the nation's portrait galleries. Felicia Marshall's illustrations throughout are luminous. Nancy Churnin's lively text describes how as a girl, Laura Wheeler Waring spent hours learning to blend just the right shades of brown to paint portraits of her friends and family members. Kids will be intrigued to learn how many colors it takes to create those This gorgeous picture book introduces young readers (and their adults) to an important artist, a pioneer who who helped bring representation to the nation's portrait galleries. Felicia Marshall's illustrations throughout are luminous. Nancy Churnin's lively text describes how as a girl, Laura Wheeler Waring spent hours learning to blend just the right shades of brown to paint portraits of her friends and family members. Kids will be intrigued to learn how many colors it takes to create those beautiful brown tones. There's an informative author's note, and the book is further enhanced by reproductions of seven of Waring's portraits from the National Portrait Gallery. (I reviewed a digital advance readers' copy.)
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  • Keila Dawson
    January 1, 1970
    There should be fifty words for brown! Laura Waring was determined to find the right shade of brown to paint the faces of African-Americans. She started with her own family and eventually received a commission to paint important African-Americans of her era like singer Marian Anderson, poet and activist Alice Dunbar Nelson, and historian and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. Churnins biography of Waring brings to readers the life of a black woman who grew up at the turn of the century and persisted to “There should be fifty words for brown!” Laura Waring was determined to find the right shade of brown to paint the faces of African-Americans. She started with her own family and eventually received a commission to paint important African-Americans of her era like singer Marian Anderson, poet and activist Alice Dunbar Nelson, and historian and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. Churnin’s biography of Waring brings to readers the life of a black woman who grew up at the turn of the century and persisted to live a creative life. An author’s note, timeline, and samples of Waring’s art in the Smithsonian complement the story. Marshall’s illustrations are what Waring wanted others to see…beautiful shades of brown. (The publisher provided a review copy of this book.)
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  • Della Ferreri
    January 1, 1970
    "Laura loved the color brown. She loved her mothers chocolate colored hair, her fathers caramel coat, and all the different browns in the cheeks of her younger sister and brothers." So begins the inspiring story of Laura Wheeler Waring and her determination to mix and experiment with shades of brown paint to depict her family and other African Americans, including singer Marian Anderson. A beautifully written biography with gorgeous illustrations showcases her journey and eventual success in "Laura loved the color brown. She loved her mother’s chocolate colored hair, her father’s caramel coat, and all the different browns in the cheeks of her younger sister and brothers." So begins the inspiring story of Laura Wheeler Waring and her determination to mix and experiment with shades of brown paint to depict her family and other African Americans, including singer Marian Anderson. A beautifully written biography with gorgeous illustrations showcases her journey and eventual success in displaying her art.
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  • Beth Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Churnin's lyrical text paints the story with words of many shades, and Marshall's phenomenal illustrations showcase the depth and range of the color brown, a complex color that holds a rainbow within. The story of Laura Wheeler Waring sheds light on a piece of history as well as the art world. When she broke through, she was able to bring others with her to the attention of a wider world. This important book echoes Wheeler Waring's work in that young readers of color will see the beauty of Churnin's lyrical text paints the story with words of many shades, and Marshall's phenomenal illustrations showcase the depth and range of the color brown, a complex color that holds a rainbow within. The story of Laura Wheeler Waring sheds light on a piece of history as well as the art world. When she broke through, she was able to bring others with her to the attention of a wider world. This important book echoes Wheeler Waring's work in that young readers of color will see the beauty of people that look like them and in themselves.
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  • Rita Lorraine
    January 1, 1970
    This book about artist Laura Wheeler Waring is very beautifully done. I enjoyed getting to see the MC's artistic skills evolve, and loved the illustrations of her family members posing for their portraits. I also enjoyed the lyrical prose, especially when the artist said, "Brown IS a rainbow." Yes, it is! As an African American born into a huge family whose members come in every shade of brown you can possibly imagine, I can tell you with certainty that brown IS a rainbow. Congratulations, Ms. This book about artist Laura Wheeler Waring is very beautifully done. I enjoyed getting to see the MC's artistic skills evolve, and loved the illustrations of her family members posing for their portraits. I also enjoyed the lyrical prose, especially when the artist said, "Brown IS a rainbow." Yes, it is! As an African American born into a huge family whose members come in every shade of brown you can possibly imagine, I can tell you with certainty that brown IS a rainbow. Congratulations, Ms. Churnin.
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  • Kirsti Call
    January 1, 1970
    "Maybe you didnt see brown in a rainbow, she thought. But brown WASa rainbow, with orange and blue, red and green tucked inside, playinghide and seek."Nancy Churnin's words beautifully describe Laura Wheeler's painting journey and her process of painting people of color. Stunning illustrations (including Laura Wheeler's originals!) enhance this engaging story. Laura is a powerful example of following your dreams and successfully breaking racial boundaries. "Maybe you didn’t see brown in a rainbow, she thought. But brown WASa rainbow, with orange and blue, red and green tucked inside, playinghide and seek."Nancy Churnin's words beautifully describe Laura Wheeler's painting journey and her process of painting people of color. Stunning illustrations (including Laura Wheeler's originals!) enhance this engaging story. Laura is a powerful example of following your dreams and successfully breaking racial boundaries.
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  • Julie Abery
    January 1, 1970
    Laura Wheeler Waring "loved the color brown" and loved to mix and blend every shade. She lovingly painted her family and dreamed of becoming an artist with her paintings on show in museums! She worked hard to study Fine Arts, traveled the world to study other painterly techniques and eventually became recognized in her own right. With fabulous lyrical language by Nancy Churnin, and stunning art by Felicia Marshall, BEAUTIFUL SHADES OF BROWN is a must read for EVERY budding young artist!
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  • Laurie Wallmark
    January 1, 1970
    Even as a child, Laura Wheeling Waring wanted to paint pictures of people who looked like herpeople with brown skin. This inspiring story tells of how she turned this childhood dream into an adult reality. Even as a child, Laura Wheeling Waring wanted to paint pictures of people who looked like her—people with brown skin. This inspiring story tells of how she turned this childhood dream into an adult reality.
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  • Lorie Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning illustrations and use of color
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