On Sunday, illustrator—and singer!—Shane Evans will visit Hillman Auditorium as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Kids and Teens program.
The first Evans-illustrated book I read was The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith, a verse story about a close-knit African-American family whose father leaves when he’s laid off from his job. The narrator, Cameron James, begins to learn that a door has many meanings, depending on how it closes—depending on whether one has the intention of coming back. Evans puts exceptionally expressive faces to the love, uncertainty and pain the family experiences—the “flammable words and feelings” of moving on and growing up in the space of his father’s absence. There’s a hominess, too, in the illustration of Cameron’s and his grandmomma’s hands clasped; her hands “mostly… hold everything together.”
Underground has almost an unreal feel as the faces of a family on their way to freedom reflect the moonlight and shadows of their dangerous path until dawn.
Check out his other books, and hope to see you there!