It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

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Product Details

$11.95  $11.11
Lee & Low Books
Publish Date
8.5 X 10.3 X 0.2 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is the recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award and the Carter G. Woodson Book Award. Tate and his family live in Austin, Texas. You can visit him online at and follow him on social media at @devas_T.

R. Gregory Christie is the recipient of numerous awards including a Caldecott Honor and six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honors, and his books have been recognized by The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books list three times. He currently paints in the evenings while traveling around the country doing school visits. You can visit him online at


* Tate and Christie capture the spirit behind the work of Bill Traylor, 'one of the most important self-taught American folk artists of the twentieth century.' ... An important picture-book biography that lovingly introduces this 'outsider' artist to a new generation. -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

[A] thoughtful reflection on the nature of creative inspiration and a man who has come to be regarded as one of the most important self-taught American folk artists. -- Publisher's Weekly

Christie's own flat primitive style is a perfect match for Traylor's story, and he deftly uses a second naïve style to represent Traylor's own art. But the real artistry here is in Don Tate's finely crafted account of Traylor's first eighty years; the ordinary events in the life of an ordinary African American man are made notable by Tate's repetition of the line: Bill saved up memories of these times deep inside. When these memories later burst into art, they are made all the more meaningful. -- The Horn Book

Best Books, Kirkus Reviews
New Voices Award Honor, LEE & LOW BOOKS
Ezra Jack Book Award Honor, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library
Editor's Choice, Booklist
Best Children's Books of the Year: Outstanding Merit, Bank Street College of Education
100 Magnificent Children's Books, Fuse #8 Production, SLJ
Books All Young Georgians Should Read, Georgia Center for the Book
Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
Original Art Show, Society of Illustrators

Top 10 Biographies for Youth 2012, Booklist