Take A Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee (Lee & Low Books)
Written by Andrea J. Loney
Illustrated by Keith Mallett
For ages: 7-12
The novelty of having someone take a picture of you has lost some of its magic as we walk around with digital cameras in our pockets all the time. Of course, people are taking pictures more than ever now because of its ease, but in the early years of the analog camera, it was a memorable moment. James VanDerZee was a young boy growing up in Lenox, Massachusetts, when he saw a camera for the first time. The book tells us how he got a camera as a young man, turning the closet in his bedroom into a makeshift dark room. Reaching adulthood, James moves to Harlem, which is undergoing a cultural transformation at the time. He captures that movement in photographs that would end up being hidden for decades. Eventually, his work was discovered and put on exhibition garnering him the rightful praise he deserved.