Her book tells the story of the Mississippi artist Walter Anderson, and it is illustrated by the amazing watercolorist E.B. Lewis. The book is billed as describing "the most famous artist you've never heard of"--but for someone like me who has grown up in Mississippi, he's the first famous artist who's work I loved. I mean, really loved, deeply and passionately.
Walter Anderson painted many of his paintings alone on the islands off of the Mississippi gulf coast. He became one with nature and the animals, even acting like the animals at times to understand their movement and perspective. His artistic voice is unique in it's use of vibrating color and line, and he expresses Gulf Coast nature in a way that no one ever has or ever will again. I grew up going to these islands in my dad's boats, so Walter Anderson's work has personal meaning for me--especially after hurricane Katrina completely altered the landscape of the Mississippi Gulf Coast forever.
I love seeing Walter Anderson receiving national acclaim, and especially children being able to see his work on a national level (his work has been shown at the Smithsonian and there are books about his life written for adults--but this is the first time that his
story has been told for an audience of children).
He is the Van Gogh of the southern United States, and I'm thankful for Hester's persistence and belief in her dream to tell his story.
Here are a few picture's of Walter Anderson's work:
The gorgeous book cover painted by E.B.
And, Hester at my daughter's school where she did a fabulous presentation. The picture next to her is the name of the school (Bramlett) spelled out in Walter Anderson's alphabet that he designed.