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I am so happy to announce a new picture book deal for Cynthia Levinson—about a New Deal figure, no less, so it’s a double new deal!
THE PEOPLE’S PAINTER is about Ben Shahn, a Jewish man who was born in Lithuania but came to the U.S. when his family fled the Czar’s persecution. In America, Ben followed his passion for art and discovered a new one, for lithography, and continued his habit of fighting injustice—which turned into creating activist art, including series on Sacco and Venzetti. He was hired as part of the New Deal to produce photographs, paintings, and graphic art, where he exposed American living and working conditions during the Great Depression. His daring work changed the artistic and political landscape of the twentieth century and continues to inspire.
Amazingly, editor Emma Ledbetter, who worked on Cynthia’s book THE YOUNGEST MARCHER at Atheneum, attended a school that had a Ben Shahn mural in it. When Emma moved to Abrams late last year, THE PEOPLE’S PAINTER was the first project she took to acquisitions. And she has matched it with the absolute perfect illustrator for it: Evan Turk (repped by Brenda Bowen). I cannot wait to see how he interprets Shahn’s life and art!