Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Book Summary: 

Jean-Michel Basquiat started life in Brooklyn, New York, and dreamed of being an artist. His mother, Matilde, encouraged him by taking him to the art museums, reading poetry, and taking him to theaters. Jean-Michel also saw art in street games, spoken words, and in city life. Jean-Michel’s home was filled with the smell of cooking, the sound of jazz records being played, and the energy of life that filled his paintings. This story continues through the tragedies and triumphs of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life.

Year: 
2016
Author: 
Javaka Steptoe
Illustrator: 
Javaka Steptoe
Publisher: 
Little, Brown, and Company
Guiding Question: 

Jean-Michel’s art reflects his life in cities, people and events in his life, and his socio-political beliefs. What do you think is the purpose of art- to entertain, to inform, to inspire, a combination of these things, or something else?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- There are many different styles of painting that are inspired by time, culture, and other aspects of life. Learn a little about different art styles using resources such as the following link: https://blog.orangecarton.com/an-introduction-to-different-types-of-painting-styles/. What makes some art valuable and why do you think people value different styles of art?

Empathy- Jean-Michel Basquiat had some challenges in his life. Do you think the challenges impacted his artwork? If so, how?

Advocacy- Basquiat used many forms of art to voice his opinions- music, poetry, and visual art. How can you voice your opinion on something that matters to you? If you’re not sure of a cause that matters to you, read some of the other books on this website for inspiration.

Action- Design a place to exhibit your classmates’ and your own advocacy artwork and share them with an audience.