Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys

Have you ever picked up a book cold, with no expectations, and find it says, “Wow!” to you on many levels?  Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Lisa Congdon is just such a book.

I’m sorry to admit I had no idea who Imogen was. I love photography. I know about Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz. Why had I never heard of Imogen Cunningham, who was clearly a contemporary? The author calls her “…one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century…” and after checking her images on the Internet, I have to say I agree. Even with all the advantages modern photographers have, from point-and-shoot digital to Instagram, Imogen Cunningham’s photographs are by far better than most, lovely paintings more than photographs.

As for the book, what creative female doesn’t relate to the struggle to balance her work and raising children, the central theme of the book? At first I thought this was a case of an adult book masquerading as a children’s book. After all, how many children can relate to the challenges of child rearing, especially of twins? After thinking about it, however, I realized that it can speak to children. Children might be able to better understand why their mother constantly has a camera in her hand, or a pencil and notepad nearby. It will definitely be important reading for children who would like to grow up to be artists someday, even if they don’t fully grasp all that it is saying now. Plus, Imogen’s story really does deserve to be told.

Imogen is an important and inspiring biography that is sure to appeal to aspiring artists. Have you read it? What did it say to you?

Suggested activity:  Photography for kids

For another review, see True Tales & A Cherry on Top

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Cameron + Company (December 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937359328
ISBN-13: 978-1937359324


 A photograph inspired by Imogen.

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

Today’s round-up is at LibrariYAn.