Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott

Knopf. Jun. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525648116.
Gr 2-4–This is the true story of twin sisters Joyce and Judy, who are inseparable, until Joyce goes to school and Judy can’t because she has Down syndrome. Even after Judy is institutionalized, Joyce continues to be involved as much as she can with her. As an adult, Joyce becomes Judy’s legal guardian and brings her home to live with her and her family. Joyce enrolls Judy in an art program that is designed to help her express herself. After some time in this school, an artist is born; after Judy dies of heart failure, her art and story continue to inspire people. This book is an amazing tribute to the determination and unshakeable bond of these siblings, who are white. The illustrations use lots of fiber art and other mixed media art in a way Judy would appreciate. Pictures with Judy and her sister are bright and colorful, while those of Judy’s elementary school and other moments in time, not as happy, are darker.
VERDICT For the art shelves or biography, this is a tale that teaches empathy; the coauthors and illustrator have recreated a loving world with harsh realities dancing around the melancholy edges.

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