Pictures for Miss Josie

by Sandra Belton and Benny Andrews

“It was the beginning of the proud times when he saw her first. She was like... read more

“It was the beginning of the proud times when he saw her first. She was like a giant, standing there in front of the sun. Against the row of houses without yards in between. He wondered if she was the one who had pushed all the houses together.” Miss Josie might not have moved the houses, but she certainly had the sense and strength to change the world as this boy knew it. This steady African American lady living in Washington, D.C., the woman with “the peppermint smell on her cheek,” was always there for him as a child and a young man. But it took him until adulthood to realize how much she gave him, and how much he needed her, his lifelong mentor. Belton based her poignant story on a teacher in her personal life, and there’s information about that teacher, Miss Josephine Carroll Smith, on one page at the very end. Andrews used collage and oil paints to prepare the distinctive, full-color artwork perfectly suited to Belton’s lyrical text, and to the secondary story of the boy growing up to become an artist. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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