Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines

illus. by Dow Phumiruk. 32p. photos. Holt. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250112491.
Gr 1–3—So often do we admire and revere our national monuments without giving much thought to those who conceptualized and created them. This quietly inspiring title offers a biographical sketch of Maya Lin, the designer and architect behind Washington's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, completed in 1982. Although the text does not delve deeply into all of the specifics of Lin's life, it imparts basic information about her childhood interest in art and architecture, describes her college studies to strengthen these skills, and explains how as a senior in college she entered a contest and came to create an iconic and poignant monument. Also addressed are the controversies that came with Lin being selected for this project, the opposition she faced, and the way she bravely stood her ground and championed her design and the reasoning behind it. The simple yet lyrical narrative flows effortlessly and will not overwhelm young readers. Lin's story encourages the study of art, architecture, and engineering, making it an ideal choice to pair with STEAM-related activities. The soft color palette of the digital illustrations (made with scans of watercolors and textures) provides a complementary backdrop to the words, and Phumiruk ably conveys Lin's determination.
VERDICT While this book is not comprehensive, it contextualizes the topic and presents an optimal opportunity to spark conversations on art and war. A fine pick for any public or school library collection.

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