Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
Junior Library Guild Selection, Junior Library Guild
NAACP Image Award Nominee, NAACP
A biography of James Van Der Zee, innovative and celebrated African American photographer of the Harlem Renaissance.
James VanDerZee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer.
Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken by a black man, James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance-politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and Mamie Smith-and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too. Everyone wanted fancy portraits by James VanDerZee.
Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people.