Norman Rockwell: Storyteller With A Brush


He was a pale, skinny boy with thick glasses, but Norman Perceval Rockwell knew that he could draw.
Beverly Gherman shows us how this awkward boy grew up to become a famous illustrator. As a boy, he sketched the characters from Charles Dickens's novels at the kitchen table. And although his mother discouraged him from pursuing a career in art, Norman knew early on that he could not ignore his talent. He dropped out of school at age fourteen to ...

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He was a pale, skinny boy with thick glasses, but Norman Perceval Rockwell knew that he could draw.
Beverly Gherman shows us how this awkward boy grew up to become a famous illustrator. As a boy, he sketched the characters from Charles Dickens's novels at the kitchen table. And although his mother discouraged him from pursuing a career in art, Norman knew early on that he could not ignore his talent. He dropped out of school at age fourteen to study art and begin the career that would eventually capture the heart of his entire nation.
The experiences of Rockwell's life became part of his paintings: a childhood trip to the country, his son's departure for the Air Force, the fire that destroyed his studio. He also depicted world events and people of his time: Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the soldiers of World War II, and the children involved in school integration, as well as more intimate American scenes, such as a family dinner or a trip to the doctor's office.
Beverly Gherman paints a colorful and engaging portrait of Norman Rockwell's life, enhanced by full-color reproductions of the artist's own paintings, which tell both his story and their own.

Describes the life and work of the popular American artist who depicted both traditional and contemporary subjects, including children, family scenes, astronauts, and the poor.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Gherman's subtitle for her short biography of Rockwell is a good definition of an illustration. It's particularly apt for Rockwell, who chose to see the world from the point of view of the common American and was and still is much loved for his vision. Sure, his images were optimistic--even sentimental--but they spoke to us of what we wanted to see in our past and present. Rockwell's life was much like his pictures. He was a scrawny kid who grew into an unassuming adult. He worked hard, raised a family, and lived modestly. His was a Frank Capra sort of small-town life. It's not a bad image to give today's kids. Neither are his pictures, which are beautifully reproduced in this well written and handsome book.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Which artist captured the many faces of America? None other than Norman Rockwell, the storyteller with a brush. Adored by the public because of his notable magazine covers for The Saturday Evening Post, he was neglected by art critics of his day, which disappointed him greatly. In a beautifully designed book complete with family photos and full page color reproductions of treasured magazine covers, Ms. Gherman tells Rockwell's story with humor and insight. I urge teachers to take note of this remarkable biography and recommend it to their students. It's not 100 pages, the requirement for biography assignments, but the contents and the impact of Rockwell's life and drawings will inspire children in ways not measured by page numbers. Rockwell's painting of Ruby Bridges, surrounded by U.S. Marshals, is a social comment about the times that defy words and succeeded in impacting the entire country with the importance of integration. 1999, Atheneum, Ages 10 up, $19.95. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
Kirkus Reviews
A handsome, well-designed book and a terrific, engaging read, this is an openly affectionate portrait of Rockwell as both the man and the artist. Young Norman left high school at fifteen to study at the National Academy and the Art Students League. He was just eighteen when he became the art director for the Boy Scouts' Boys' Life magazine. Shortly thereafter, Rockwell was shocked that The Saturday Evening Post bought the first two paintings he showed them and immediately commissioned three more covers! These two early associations shaped his long, productive, and lucrative career. Gherman (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1996) takes her readers into the studio and skillfully blends biographical details into her survey of Rockwell's techniques, models, and imagery. Parents and teachers will welcome the opportunity to introduce his inspirational WWII suite of paintings "The Four Freedoms" (based on Roosevelt's speech) to contemporary children. Once seen, few will forget "The Problem We All Live With" (his 1964 Look Magazine painting of a young Ruby Bridges escorted into her New Orleans elementary school flanked by Federal marshals). Open page design, attractive typeface, and generous white space set off a luscious sampling of well-chosen full color reproductions and fascinating black and while photos. This biography is well timed; Rockwell and his oeuvre are in international resurgence. Critics are finally acknowledging that Rockwell's "high art' aesthetic both intersects with and transcends popular culture. The buzz generated by the Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People show now touring the country's major museums willdefinitelyreach the elementary school set. As such, this appealing biography will certainly meet and exceed the expectations of a burgeoning new audience for the artist's life and work. (Biography. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689820014
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 581,526
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 980L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Gherman grew up taking Norman Rockwell's work for granted. His images were everywhere: on calendars, stamps, posters, magazine covers. Several years ago she visited an eighth-grade classroom and saw the students studying Rockwell's paintings. They were excited about his work, and their enthusiasm sent her back to Rockwell's world to look at his art with a fresh eye.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Talent "Like a Bag of Lemon Drops"

Chapter 2 "Live in the Picture"

Chapter 3 An "Author's Words in Paint"

Chapter 4 "The Greatest Show Window in America"

Chapter 5 Lost in Tom Sawyer's Cave

Chapter 6 "Kid with the Camera Eye"

Chapter 7 "Average People Doing Average Things"

Chapter 8 From Tears to Laughter

Chapter 9 Splash, Drip, and Spatter

Chapter 10 Controversy on Canvas

Important Dates


Selected Bibliography

Illustration Credits


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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Don't Know Norman Rockwell? Find out in this book!

    I have always loved Norman Rockwell's works, but I had no idea about all of the wonderful works he had actually done until I read this book. Beverly Gherman's Norman Rockwell, Storyteller with a Brush was informational, but honestly I could not put it down. I absolutely loved reading about Norman's life. His life was very interesting, intriguing, and very purposeful. I did not know that he was married three times, or that he had children. After reading this book I realized that Norman was the Post illustrator, and the covers that my grandma had collected for years were Norman's covers. I had always enjoyed looking at those covers, but now knowing that Norman Rockwell drew them, explains why.
    I found it very interesting that when Norman was taking art classes they separated the men and women's classes so that they could have live nude models. Norman's career as an artist was a very long successful one, but the remarkable story of how he became so famous is even more extraordinary. Norman was always told that he would never make anything out of his artist abilities, and that he definitely would never make a career out of them. His story is one of great determination; Norman had in his mind that he was going to make a accomplishment out of his talents because that was what he wanted to do. During his career Norman lost his studio and basically lost everything he owned pertaining to his career. However, Norman was way stronger than everything they taught him to fear. He tackled that challenge, and moved on with his life, making quite a profitable life for himself.

    SDV 3301-03

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