How Life Influences Art


In 1939 the Hawaiian Pineapple Company hired Georgia O'Keeffe to create two paintings for them. They sponsored her travel from New York to Hawaii so that she could experience Hawaii. Georgia spent about three months traveling the islands, painting what inspired her: plants, landscapes, fishing lures. There were nearly 20 paintings, but not one was a pineapple. When she presented two paintings to the company, they weren't happy. They were expecting a pineapple. Georgia didn't like being told what to paint, but she also was very grateful for the trip. Ultimately she painted a pineapple for them.

Parent Perspective:
The artwork creates a wonderful sensory experience. I found myself lingering over the pages just to explore the imagery and emotion coming from the page. The narrative carries the story along, and conveys a lot of information that may not hit you the first time through. This was the 1930s. She had a career and a husband. She traveled BY HERSELF across country. Unescorted travel was not common for the time. She also "spoke up" to the people who hired her. Also, not common for the time. Both of these things are worth noting to help readers give readers context of just how unique this was.

Overall, I'd recommend the book to those interested in art and/or independently-minded characters. The story is nice (there is more detail in the back), but it is really just an overview to pique your interest in learning more about the artist and finding some of the paintings Yuyi Morales talks about in her Illustrator Note.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Vivid illustrations create a sensory experience for readers. The story is a wonderful introduction to Georgia O'Keeffe and will likely inspire more interest in her and her work.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a fictionalized account of Georgia O'Keeffe's trip to Hawaii.
Educational Themes:

The story is listed as "fiction," but it has lots of factual detail. Pull out some maps and a globe to show readers how far Georgia O'Keeffe traveled - and remind them that this was by train and boat. To help them with context, you may also want to explain that it was not common for women to have independent careers or travel without their husband.

Be sure to check out the Illustrator's Note at the end. Yuyi Morales identifies other O'Keeffe paintings (many 20 years before this trop) that she used to help her create the illustrations for this trip. They are worth checking out.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. This is a nice book and worth reading, but it is just an overview.

Title Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased
Author Amy Novesky
Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers © 2012
Illustrators Yuyi Morales
ISBN 9780152054205
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Biography, Art | Art History

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