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Spotlight: Kadir Nelson

September 29, 2020

Kadir Nelson is one of my all time favorite authors/illustrators! He is an award-winning author, illustrator, and artist. I know his work on sight, and it is awe-inspiring every single time. It never ceases to amaze me and always steals my breath. His website sums it beautifully, “his sumptuous settings and characters, rich palette, and realistic, yet painterly technique speaks to both modern urban realism and masterly works of turn-of-the century American painters.”

Nelson is the author and/or illustrator of over 30 children’s books. Here are a few that I enjoy, but they are all wonderful.

The Undefeated by Kadir Nelson

This award-winning book stopped me in my tracks the first time I read it. The pairing of Kwame Alexander’s poem with Kadir Nelson’s art is more than I could ever begin to put into words. You have to experience it for yourself.

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus

I remember the first time I read this book. As I flipped through the pages, I contemplated the intricacy of the artwork and often found myself wondering if the illustrations were photographs.

All God's Critters song by Bill Staines

Yes, Kadir Nelson illustrated the song by Bill Staines. And, let me tell you, it’s a favorite in our house! My toddler loves the song and clapping along, but the best part for him is when the pages open up and you see all the animals performing on stage. We sing that part (while opening and closing the flaps) repeatedly before finally finishing the book. Then, of course, we start the whole process over again.

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

This is a wonderful book that teaches children the benefits of sharing and giving and how a simple act of kindness can grow into so much more. 

View More Kadir Nelson Books

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Cassie is a Children's Librarian at Edmondson Pike Branch Library. She can often be found reading books and singing songs, and not just at the library! Her favorite thing to do at the moment is cuddle her baby while they read phenomenal picture books and earn Read to Rise points.


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