Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, April 22, 2024

Be Strong: The Rise of Beloved Public Art Sculptor Nancy Schön Written by Darcy Pattison

 Be Strong: The Rise of Beloved Public Art Sculptor Nancy Schön
Written by Darcy Pattison; Illustrated by Rich Davis
MimsHouse Books. 2024

Have you ever been to Boston, Massachusetts and seen the Make Way for Ducklings sculptures in the Public Garden? If so, then you have seen the work of Nancy Schön. 

Born near Boston on September 24, 1928 (I got that from Wikipedia), Nancy became interested in sculpture at her cousin's Halloween party. 
    "For one game, each child was asked to chew a piece of gum and use it to sculpt something. Her hands shaped a tiny cup and saucer. She won first place!"

She graduated with a degree in sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Despite being married and raising her children, Nancy still found time to teach art and make sculptures. It was in 1979, that the idea of what she wanted her art to be came to her. 
"Right then, I saw what I wanted for my art. I wanted my sculptures to be outdoors in parks, where people of all ages could touch and enjoy them."

This picture book biography focuses on Nancy's creation of the duck sculptures based on Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings. Once installed, there was no holding her back. Other sculptures she created is the Tortise and Hare at Copley Square, which is the finish line for the Boston Marathon, as well as, other sculptures that are installed in parks around the world.

Woven into this charming story is a message of Be Strong, a message she received while creating the ducklings from artist whose studio was across the hall from Nancy. She took that message and kept it close to her heart and thought of it throughout her life when she had a hard day.

Quotes from Nancy Schön are throughout set off in purple. 

The illustrations are colorful and reflect what is being said in the text.

Back matter includes more information on Nancy Schön, and a listing of her public art sculptures. To write this engaging story the author conducted personal interviews with the artist and read the book, Make Way for Nancy: A Life in Public Art by Nancy Schön. (Boston: David R. Godine. 2017)

A fun book to share with budding artists of all ages, at an art adventure story time, and especially, after reading Make Way for Ducklings. 

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