Friday, March 1, 2013

Perfect Picture Book Friday: It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

Title: It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

Author: Don Tate

Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie

Publisher: Lee and Low Books, April 1, 2012

Age: 6 and up

Topics: African American Artists, Folk Art, People: Biography: Bill Traylor (1854-1949), Places: Alabama

Book Summary: At the age of 81, Bill Traylor begins to draw as a way to keep his memories of his life alive. He draws about his life as a slave, as a free man, of his family and friends who are long gone, and of the people and buildings he sees as he sits homeless on the streets of Montgomery.
Find an activity guide on the author's website:

Memory collage or drawings: Have your child(ren) draw pictures of a memory (ex: day at the beach, vacation at grandparents, day at school, etc.,) For the memory collage give your child(ren) pictures, magazine cut outs to tell a story they remember
Explore American Folk Art:
Folklife and Folk Art Education and Resource Guide
The folks of folk art: history and lesson plans
Information about Bill Traylor

Why I Like This Book:
It is so nice to read about people like Bill Traylor. Here was an old man who went through so much and yet he proved that one is never too old to learn a new skill. Bill Traylor was a self-taught artist and it is through his art that we learn about the era he lived, his life, the people he loved and lost, the people he met along his journey. In his own way, Bill Traylor helps us celebrate freedom and creative pursuits. His story inspires and motivates. A wonderful addition and resource for the classroom.


Beth Stilborn said...

Saba -- this book looks wonderful on so many levels. I love that at 81 he taught himself to draw, and that he illustrated so much of the rich experiences of his life. Great activity suggestions, too. Thank you!

Patricia T. said...

Saba, what a beautiful choice. I love historical fiction. Did her remain homeless or did his painting sell? Just curious. This is a great book for Black History Month or any time. Love it!

SN Taylor said...

Thank you, Beth

@Patrica Unfortunately, his paintings did not become famous until after his death. :(