E. B. Lewis creates arresting portraits of people through his watercolor paintings. Whether real and imagined, the characters come to life as do the settings he creates. Some surroundings, like swimming pools and family homes are familiar while others are more remote such as times long past or a mountainous region of Ethiopia. Regardless of when, where, or who Lewis illustrates, readers are sure to recognize themselves and their emotions in his paintings. Watch our video interview with E.B. Lewis.
Books illustrated by E.B. Lewis
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
This story, written in free-verse poetry, begins with one Texas family learning about their freedom, leaving the sweltering cotton fields, and going to celebrate with a whole community on a cool beach at night. Beautiful watercolor illustrations and extra historical information at the end.
A grandmother tells her granddaughter the history of baskets, going all the way back to Africa. The circular history of a people and of families is suggested in gentle text and evocative watercolors.
Coming on Home Soon
When Ada Ruth's mother goes to Chicago for a much-needed job during World War II, Ada Ruth stays with her grandmother in Grandma's rural home. Being apart is tough even though Ada Ruth knows it is in response to the war. Words and illustration combine to present a stirring portrait of longing, family, and love until mother and child are reunited.
Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars
The story of Blind Willie Johnson — the legendary Texas musician whose song "Dark Was the Night" was included on the Voyager I space probe's Golden Record. There, along with the many sounds and sights of planet Earth, is the stirring song of a blind man, telling us not to be afraid of the dark, and reminding us that we are never really alone.
Fire on the Mountain
This Ethiopian folktale of how a rich man is convinced to keep his word to pay a brave young shepherd has been effectively retold and illustrated. Watercolors not only complement the story but realistically evoke the rich setting for a version that is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers.
I Love My Hair
As an African American mother combs her daughter's hair, she not only helps the child see its possibilities but recognize its beauty. Rich imagery is created through accessible language and radiant watercolors as well as the loving relationship between parent and child.
Lily Brown's Paintings
Lily Brown loves her family and the world they share, but she also loves to paint and travel the world through her imagination. Luminous paintings depict Lily's creative travels to the stars, the seashore, and more, before returning to her family.
Magid Fasts for Ramadan
It is the first day of Ramadan, but everyone tells Magid he is too young to fast. "You will fast when you are older," says his grandfather. When Magid decides he is ready, he keeps his decision a secret from his family — but were they right after all? Illustrations in watercolor portray a lovely Egyptian setting for the story.
My Best Friend
Lily tries her best to befriend an older girl during weekly visits to the pool but Tamika and her friend mostly just ignore the younger girl. In the end, Lily befriends a girl her own age and begins to truly enjoy the summer. Light-filled watercolors bring the children's emotions and summer activities to life.
Pitching in for Eubie
Lily feels like she can't contribute to the family fund to help her sister Eubie's college fund. When Lily finds a way to help, her joy is conveyed through handsome, realistic illustrations and Lily's exuberant narration.
Preaching to the Chickens: the Story of Young John Lewis
As a child, John Lewis always practiced his deep religious convictions, even with his much loved chickens. Based on the childhood of the Civil Rights exemplar and U.S. Congressman, this story of faith and intelligence comes to life in dramatic, light-filled watercolors and poetic text.
Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow
Realistic illustrations and a straightforward retelling of one episode of the legendary Robin Hood's triumph in an archery contest provides a satisfying, accessible introduction to the heroic outlaw and his band of Merry Men.
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama, home to the Marshall Space Center, was desegregated nonviolently during the 1960s. The people there nurtured the seeds planted by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as they worked for equality. Realistic watercolors are expressive, effectively evoking the period and people.
Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
After aviator Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman is lost in a plane crash, those who knew her celebrate her life. Different voices come alive in small portraits and beautifully crafted full-page scenes as individuals tell stories in free verse to present Bessie's unusual and heroic story. A biographical note extends the introduction to this early aviator.
The Bat Boy and His Violin
Reginald loves the violin, but his dad coaches the worst team in the Negro National League and needs a bat boy not a violinist. How Reginald combines his love of classical music with his father's need helps build the team as well as a stronger father-son bond and is presented through heartwarming text and watercolor illustrations.
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial
Sarah Roberts lived in Boston in 1847 but was prevented from attending school. While her family finally won the right for Sarah to go to the all-white school, the struggle for desegregation continued. This little-known story of one child’s impact on history is accessible in text and touching, realistic watercolor illustrations. Additional information is appended.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Dazzling watercolors turn Hughes' short poem into an unforgettable glimpse of African American history and an emotional journey through time. A concluding note details the illustrator's personal connection to the classic poem.
The Other Side
Clover and Annie — one black, the other white — are separated by a fence and attitudes that want to prevent their friendship.
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