Life Doesn’t Frighten Me (Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition)
by Maya Angelou (Author), Jean-Michel Basquiat (Author), and Sara Jane Boyers (Author)
Booktalk: Maya Angelou’s brave, defiant poem celebrates the courage within each of us, young and old. From the scary thought of panthers in the park to the unsettling scene of a new classroom, fearsome images are summoned and dispelled by the power of faith in ourselves.
Angelou’s strong words are matched by the daring vision of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the powerful emotions and fanciful imaginings of childhood. Together, Angelou’s words and Basquiat’s paintings create a place where every child, indeed every person, may experience his or her own fearlessness.
In this brilliant introduction to poetry and contemporary art, brief biographies of Angelou and Basquiat accompany the text and artwork, focusing on the strengths they took from their lives and brought to their work. A selected bibliography of Angelou’s books and a selected museum listing of Basquiat’s works open the door to further inspiration through the fine arts.
NEW! Sunday Guest Post Series
In 2018, I’ve invited children’s book creators I admire to share their creative process and talk about their latest book in a new Sunday guest post series.
Our first guest is Sara Jane Boyers, a former music industry attorney/executive and personal manager of performers, who changed direction to write and create books and to photograph. As a photographer, Boyers’ work has been picked for exhibition in juried competitions and exhibited in museums and galleries. As a writer, Boyers’ books have been critically acclaimed and her poetry published.
Q. Describe your writing process.
A. Thanks Anastasia for inviting me to be the first in your Sunday guest post series on the writing process! I am an unusual choice for two of my three books published so far are books that utilize the art and poetry of others with little of my own writing — usually the bio plus an introduction or afterword. That said, whether it is these illustrated books that I created by finding and pairing these incredible artists and poets and doing the initial design or, my later non-fiction book for teens on civic and political activism, the process is the same, starting of course, with inspiration, curiosity and then, research into other books and materials that might help focus my ideas. Then the writing and editing – edit, edit, edit is a mantra, I am sure for most of us — that for me includes the layout and flow.
And flow is the operative word for any book needs a story arc, a rise and fall that bring the reader ultimately to a satisfactory, memorable finish. In picture books the arc exists for me not only in the words but also in the imagery. I do this whether in non-fiction, in these books that “marry” existing poetry and art or, even in my own fine art photographic exhibition and book projects. The process is always about the writing (dictionary and thesaurus by my side!). It is about the imagery. It is in the continual conversations the words and paragraphs and chapters have with one another or the images when placed side to side. It is layout where I employ many computer tools but still print out and create old school dummies to achieve what I imagine others will see, flip pages, reflect upon and enjoy.
Q. Tell us about your latest book.
A. My latest book is . . . my first book (!) which was originally published in 1993: LIFE DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME where I married the strong words of Maya Angelou’s 1978 eponymous poem to the expressive artwork of the late contemporary artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Abrams and I just updated (including my new Afterword) and repackaged for LIFE DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME: THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, to be released this very week on January 9th! So excited that this well reviewed and awarded book, never out of print, is being introduced to a new audience, many of them the grown-up children who originally gained such strength and empowerment from its first release.
LIFE25 has brought me back to books after years in the world of fine art photography and I am now working on my own photo-illustrated children’s book project about an artist, a friend of mine, who recently died at the memorable age of 106 whose own work is not only stunning but was representative of the many major contributions, often unacknowledged, of immigrants to our society. Cannot wait to tell you more!
Thank you for kicking off the new Sunday Guest Post Series, Sara Jane!
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