Gordon Parks: No Excuses

Gordon Parks: No Excuses

by Ann Parr
     
 

A biography of the famous African-American photographer. Gordon Parks grew up in poverty in Kansas, but his mother always told him, "Don't come home with any excuses." His perseverance resulted in his becoming a photographer for Life magazine as well as a successful novelist, director, producer, screenwriter, and music composer.

Overview

A biography of the famous African-American photographer. Gordon Parks grew up in poverty in Kansas, but his mother always told him, "Don't come home with any excuses." His perseverance resulted in his becoming a photographer for Life magazine as well as a successful novelist, director, producer, screenwriter, and music composer.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
African-American photographer, Gordon Parks, was told by his mother, "What a white boy can do, you can too—and no excuses." That was the theme of Park's life as he taught himself to be a photographer, joined the staff of Life magazine, and chronicled history with his camera. The encouraging text about Parks' life is lost with the accompanying photographs and illustrations. There is no explanation or date of what the reader is viewing. The illustrations are interspersed in the book to demonstrate a scene from the text. They, like the photographs, are not labeled, or even representative to the times they are trying to portray. (An illustration of a woman holding a copy of Life magazine has a modern hairstyle and is sitting on a wooden chair. She is supposed to be riding a train in the 1930s.) There is no index, bibliography, or timeline. This would not be helpful for reports. 2006, Pelican Publishing Company, Ages 5 to 9.
—Joyce R. Laiosa
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Growing up during segregation did not stop Parks from determinedly pursuing a career in photography. "What a white boy can do, you can too-and no excuses," his mother told him. His photographs seem to reflect extremes: haut-couture in Paris, poverty in Brazil, gang wars in Harlem, Civil Rights leaders, and more. The shadows in his photos and expressive low-lighting are entrancing, and it should be no surprise that he was employed by Life magazine for many years. This brief biography and cross section of his photography portfolio are interrupted with sketches that attempt to fill in the gaps when images of Parks did not exist. Though respectably detailed and realistic, they are stiff and awkward when coupled with Parks's stunning work. The sincerity within the photos of this recently deceased artist and the simple text tell a story of belief in oneself and strength to prevail over adversity.-Jodi Kearns, University of Akron, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Based on an interview with Parks, now in his 90s, and built on his mother's childhood challenge, "What a white boy can do, you can too-and no excuses," Parr's profile briefly traces the photographer/writer/filmmaker's career from early struggles in Minnesota to his memoir for adults, Hungry Heart (2005). Parks certainly merits attention from younger readers, and an update for Midge Turk's 1971 biography is definitely overdue. But not only is the caption-like text here too limited to present a rounded picture of Parks's achievements, but a skimpy selection of his often murky black-and-white photos is padded out with several obtrusive, not always relevant pencil drawings by Kathryn Breidenthal. A substandard, message-driven production, of limited value to libraries. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589804111
Publisher:
Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/31/2006
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,282,833
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)
Lexile:
AD770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ann Parr has written many of the young-adult books in the Race Car Legends , Behind the Moves, and Wild Rides! series. Parr received her bachelor of arts degree in public school music education and her master of fine arts degree in writing for children from Vermont College. She is an accomplished writer and musician and lives in Kansas with her husband.

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