My Fellow Americans: A Family Album

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In this fascinating compendium, Alice Provensen creates an album that reveals the words and deeds of fellow Americans in elegant pictures brimming with lively detail. An eclectic sampling of Americans is represented-from Pocahontas to Henry Ford, Sojourner Truth to Jim Henson, and Al Capone to Dr. Seuss. By showing us the myriad personalities who have influenced our lives, Mrs. Provensen provides remarkable insight into what it means to be a part of the American family. “Inspiring is the best adjective to ...

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Overview

In this fascinating compendium, Alice Provensen creates an album that reveals the words and deeds of fellow Americans in elegant pictures brimming with lively detail. An eclectic sampling of Americans is represented-from Pocahontas to Henry Ford, Sojourner Truth to Jim Henson, and Al Capone to Dr. Seuss. By showing us the myriad personalities who have influenced our lives, Mrs. Provensen provides remarkable insight into what it means to be a part of the American family. “Inspiring is the best adjective to describe this very personal book.”-USA Today

Tableaus and portraits of many of the individuals who have influenced American history, culture, and character.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Provensen (The Buck Stops Here) curates a highly personal gallery of American historical figures in this eclectic, large-format volume. "Not all these Americans are honored in our national imagination, but they live in mine," she explains in an author's note. She groups her subjects by their careers, callings or causes they championed, labeling her assemblages with headings like "American Architects: The Shapes of Democracy'' or "The Magnetic West: Pathfinders, Settlers, & Image Makers.'' Provensen renders their likenesses in India ink and oil in her characteristically candid style, but the words or phrases with which she embellishes these portraits may puzzle young readers (e.g., Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, described as "the proletarian Joan of Arc,'' says, "We want bread and roses too''; Alice Paul, founder of the National Woman's Party, rides in a vehicle labeled "Prison Special''). Quotations from individuals associated with the various themes run at the bottom of each busy page, but their meaning may also elude the young, as when Susan Sontag comments on the purpose of art. The author concludes this curious book with five pages of "Observations & Reflections" that offer (in a tiny typeface) an informal, subjective commentary on each biographical cluster.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This book could serve as an outline for social studies at all levels. A treasure trove of men and women whose ideas, genius, foresight, and talents have forged the fabric of our society. Its strength lies in its groupings of people, i.e. Pathfinders, Settlers and Image Makers of the West, Free Spirits, Rebel Voices, Scoundrels, Artists, Playwrights, etc. Like browsing through a personal photo album, the picture is the teaser that leads the viewer to ask more questions and dig elsewhere to flesh out that person's story. For adults the fun is to see how many of these people you can identify. It's a challenge.
School Library Journal
In a format similar to The Buck Stops Here, Provensen presents an album of famous Americans, no longer living, who have shaped this country in many ways. Here, rebels and religious leaders, artists and educators, free thinkers and financiers, patriots and rogues gather for group portraits amidst neat, hand-lettered labels and lists of their accomplishments. Beneath each grouping of figures Provensen has added an appropriate or inspiring quotation. Each page, with its India-ink drawings and soft-hued colorings against flat white backgrounds, offers a different arrangement of faces and words, placed under thought-provoking headings such as "Radical Reformers'' and "Mega-Millionaires.'' The endpapers feature large postage-stamp-style squares in which the author has placed individuals who are difficult to categorize but well worth honoring. What fun to roam through these pages, identifying known figures, and reading the many accomplishments of the men and women of varied races and national origins. An appendix of "Observations and Reflections,'' adds anecdotes and historical information about each of the groups and explains Provensen's reasons for including these people in her "American family.''-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Carolyn Phelan
In the large, square format of her earlier book The Buck Stops Here: the Presidents of the United States, Provensen now invites readers to explore her American family album. Since she broadens the concept of family to include any notable American (excluding the living), the album includes hundreds of people, not to mention Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. She groups them by subject, captures their likeness in small portraits, and describes some of them in a few words or telling quotations. Subject groupings include abolitionists, expatriates, scoundrels, financiers, humanitarians, ecologists, and photographers. The large format offers the flexibility to include many people on a large, double-page spread or to use a page to spotlight one person. Don't miss the endpapers, where Elvis Presley, Kate Smith, and Malcolm X keep company with Alexander Graham Bell and Dr. Seuss. Provensen's cameo portraits and other illustrations--ink "drawings with oil paints--reflect a sure sense of line, color, and composition. This mammoth, idiosyncratic undertaking succeeds in providing a backward glance at American culture in all its quirky originality and energy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152766429
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/15/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 9 years
  • Product dimensions: 11.83 (w) x 11.78 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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