My sisters Girl Scout Troop went to DC many years ago. I was an older scout and considered chaperone material. I assumed (right or wrong) the girls just saw it as a time to get away from school (considering how young they were and being typical kids). I was thinking “OMG I’m going to see the White House! I’m going to see the Vietnam Memorial” (those were my two “must see” items). While seeing the White House was fun (though we missed the last tour) it was the Memorial that I remember most. What I saw was the names of people dead or missing. The shape of it as it went from small, to large, back down to small again. I saw myself reflected in that shiny surface and could not see my sister’s reflection as she stood right next to me. It was an impressive moment. What I did not see, or think of, was Maya Lin.
I later learned about this woman. And this picture book filled in a lot of holes to that knowledge. In Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines we see Maya’s journey. At the time she was chosen to create her design, she was an unknown architect student. She was someone who wanted to build a special kind of wall that did not honor war, but the people who fought, died and had gone missing. But before that, this book shows were she came from, her imagination, how creative she always was, her life with artistic, educated parents and the fun she had with her older brother. The illustrations of Phumiruk are sweet and detailed. Yet, have a simplistic flair that makes them cozy to the eye.
This book is a great way to be introduced to history and to show you how an everyday person can make a great impact on art as well as history.