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Beautiful Shades of Brown: Laura Wheeler Waring, Artist

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Growing up in the late 19th century, Laura Wheeler Waring didn't see any artists who looked like her. She didn't see any paintings of people who looked like her, either. As a young woman studying art in Paris, she found inspiration in the works of Matisse and Gaugin to paint the people she knew best. Back in Philadelphia, the Harmon Foundation commissioned her to paint ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Creston Books
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Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book for ages 7-11 is stunning. It's about the Black female painter Laura Wheeler Waring who isn't well known but really should be. She started painting friends and family as a young girl, wanting to showcase people who looked like her and her siblings and hoped to have her paintings in museums. She studied in Paris and was commissioned to paint a ton of important, influential African-American people like WEB DuBois and opera singer Marian Anderson during the Harlem Renaissance. The ...more
I am loving the trend of picture book biographies about lesser-known people. Each one is a reminder of everything I do not yet know. I am also reminded that the well-known people from history have been chosen, publicized, and popularized, but are not necessarily more worthy of reknown.

This portrayal of a young artist from Connecticut focuses mostly on Waring's artistic journey. From an artistic perspective, the lack of African-American portraits and painters played a big role in Waring's
Jeanette Bradley
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marshalls illustrations capture the look and feeling of paintings by early 20th century painter Laura Wheeler Waring. The text keeps this biography focused on Warings art, and her mixing colors to paint famous African-American subjects is related with joyful celebration of luminous brown tones. A perfect pairing of text & art, the biography ends with reproductions of several of Warings portraits that hang in the Smithsonian. A fantastic spotlight on art history, that places Waring in ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a children's biography book. It has wonderful art to accompany the story of Wheeler Waring's life. It starts when she's a young girl who dreams of painting all different colors of Brown. She goes on to have her artwork hung in museums.

I had never heard of this artist before. I have seen her artwork before though, in the National Portrait Gallery. I admired it greatly in real life and reading the book has deepened my appreciation of it. I would recommend this for any kid that doesn't
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, real-life
An okay intro-biography for the Harlem Renaissance painter, and the only result on Goodread's catalog for Laura Wheeler Waring at all. It's nice there is a book about her, but the writing is dry, difficult to spot on the page, and doesn't seem to go along with the lovely illustrations much. Not one for my storytimes unfortunately.

Age: Upper elementary+
Plot: a light biography of Laura Wheeler Waring
Themes: brown skin is beautiful, art making, breaking boundaries
Length: Medium-long
Wordiness: High
Tina Cho
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Churnin writes another beautiful picture book biography this time of Laura Wheeler Waring, who moved barriers to paint portraits of African Americans like her family. Her dream was to see African American paintings in museums so that African American children could see themselves on the walls. In beautiful language, Churnin describes Lauras passion and determination to succeed. My favorite line: Brown was a rainbow, with orange, and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing hide and seek. ...more
Christine Mcdonnell
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Laura Wheeler, an African American artist, painted the portraits of African Americans showing the beauty of all the shades of brown skin. She discovered that brown holds many colors within it. Marian Anderson posed for her:
Day after day, Marian posed. Laura mixed shades of brown. Burnt umber with yellow and dabs of white. No, that wasnt it. How about a little green and violet? Closer. Laura wiped her paint-spattered forehead. Traces of red and cerulean blue? The resulting portrait traveled
Jenna Grodzicki
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A moving portrayal of the life and accomplishments of artist Laura Wheeler Waring. From a very young age, Laura knew she wanted to paint portraits. Despite many obstacles, including racial segregation, Laura worked hard to get herself accepted into art school and a scholarship to study in Paris. Her art helped break down racial barriers and still hangs in the Smithsonian Institution today. A must have for any classroom or library collection.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read it. Id never heard of Laura Wheeler Waring, so this was a learning experience as well as a delight. I especially appreciated the inclusion of reproductions of some of her paintings at the end of the book. Her Marian Anderson portrait is gorgeous! ...more
The illustrations are beautiful!! I hope to see Laura Wheeler Waring's work up close one day, but Felicia Marshall really did her justice. I was not as moved by the text. I want more info! Even the timeline in the back offers more information about Marian Anderson than the focus of the book.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating biography of Laura Wheeler Waring, an artist who painted the portraits of influential African Americans during the early 1900s. Favorite line: "But brown WAS a rainbow, with orange and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing hide and seek."
Kataneh Vahdani
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! Sometimes when I start reading picture books, after few pages I start of understand the story line and get attached. But when I started reading "Beautiful shaded of brown", after the second page when she talked about rainbows, I was hooked! The story is powerful and it is an easy read and the illustrations are stunning. Highly recommend this book to those who want to inspire their children to follow their dreams and also be inspired.
Lauren Kerstein
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, resonant book that illuminates the life and critical contributions of Laura Wheeler Waring.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was not familiar with Laura Wheeler Waring but this biography introduces children to her work through lovely, lyrical language accompanied by beautiful illustrations. I especially enjoyed the connection to singer Marian Anderson.
Amalia Hoffman
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This is the story of the African-American artist, Laura Wheeler.
Laura loves to paint her family members. Experimenting with color combinations, shes excited to find out that there are so many shades of brown to match her sisters cheeks, her mothers hair and all of her familys skin colors.
Laura dreams that one day her paintings will hang on museums walls but That is a crazy idea for a 10-year-old... because in 1897, African-American portraits dont appear on museums walls!
Still, Laura turns her
Kristian Beverly
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This was an incredible book ❤ ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile
This gorgeous picture book introduces young readers (and their adults) to an important artist, a pioneer who who helped bring representation to the nation's portrait galleries. Felicia Marshall's illustrations throughout are luminous. Nancy Churnin's lively text describes how as a girl, Laura Wheeler Waring spent hours learning to blend just the right shades of brown to paint portraits of her friends and family members. Kids will be intrigued to learn how many colors it takes to create those ...more
Keila Dawson
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There should be fifty words for brown!

Laura Waring was determined to find the right shade of brown to paint the faces of African-Americans. She started with her own family and eventually received a commission to paint important African-Americans of her era like singer Marian Anderson, poet and activist Alice Dunbar Nelson, and historian and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. Churnins biography of Waring brings to readers the life of a black woman who grew up at the turn of the century and persisted to
Della Ferreri
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Laura loved the color brown. She loved her mothers chocolate colored hair, her fathers caramel coat, and all the different browns in the cheeks of her younger sister and brothers."

So begins the inspiring story of Laura Wheeler Waring and her determination to mix and experiment with shades of brown paint to depict her family and other African Americans, including singer Marian Anderson. A beautifully written biography with gorgeous illustrations showcases her journey and eventual success in
Beth Anderson
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Churnin's lyrical text paints the story with words of many shades, and Marshall's phenomenal illustrations showcase the depth and range of the color brown, a complex color that holds a rainbow within. The story of Laura Wheeler Waring sheds light on a piece of history as well as the art world. When she broke through, she was able to bring others with her to the attention of a wider world. This important book echoes Wheeler Waring's work in that young readers of color will see the beauty of ...more
Rita Lorraine
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book about artist Laura Wheeler Waring is very beautifully done. I enjoyed getting to see the MC's artistic skills evolve, and loved the illustrations of her family members posing for their portraits. I also enjoyed the lyrical prose, especially when the artist said, "Brown IS a rainbow." Yes, it is! As an African American born into a huge family whose members come in every shade of brown you can possibly imagine, I can tell you with certainty that brown IS a rainbow. Congratulations, Ms. ...more
Kirsti Call
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Maybe you didnt see brown in a rainbow, she thought. But brown WAS
a rainbow, with orange and blue, red and green tucked inside, playing
hide and seek."

Nancy Churnin's words beautifully describe Laura Wheeler's painting journey and her process of painting people of color. Stunning illustrations (including Laura Wheeler's originals!) enhance this engaging story. Laura is a powerful example of following your dreams and successfully breaking racial boundaries.
Julie Abery
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laura Wheeler Waring "loved the color brown" and loved to mix and blend every shade. She lovingly painted her family and dreamed of becoming an artist with her paintings on show in museums! She worked hard to study Fine Arts, traveled the world to study other painterly techniques and eventually became recognized in her own right. With fabulous lyrical language by Nancy Churnin, and stunning art by Felicia Marshall, BEAUTIFUL SHADES OF BROWN is a must read for EVERY budding young artist!
Laurie Wallmark
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even as a child, Laura Wheeling Waring wanted to paint pictures of people who looked like herpeople with brown skin. This inspiring story tells of how she turned this childhood dream into an adult reality. ...more
Lorie Barber
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning illustrations and use of color
rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2019
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2020
Julie Rowan-Zoch
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Mar 14, 2020
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