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From the Sketchbook: Don Tate

This new CBC series features illustrators sharing their creative process to provide context to their amazing artwork. Our featured artist is Don Tate, an illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books and an award-winning author, in 2013, he earned an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Award for his first picture book text.

The art below can be found, in finished form, in the picture book Carter Reads the Newspaper, which was written by Deborah Hopkinson.

“These are some early sketches and ideas for the cover of the book. I had originally wanted to picture Carter G. Woodson in a library, reading the newspaper. Later, I decided that picturing Woodson as a child might be more appealing to children—especially by having him reading to his father.”

“I had the most fun researching and illustrating the endpapers. Carter G. Woodson is known as the ‘Father of Black History’ so I wanted the book to open and close with as much of that history as I could squeeze in. Many images did not make the final cut, so I’m thrilled to share them here.”

“One of the challenges with illustrating nonfiction is that it is impossible to know exactly what a scene would have looked like 90 years ago. I have no idea exactly what young Carter would have worn to school. And there’s no way of knowing exactly what that one-room school would have looked like. But I can research to get a general idea. I found this image to use as reference from the Virginia Historical Society.”

More of Don Tate’s art can be found in Carter Reads the Newspaper,
the first picture book biography of Carter G. Woodson, which emphasizes the importance of pursuing curiosity and encouraging a hunger for stories that have not been told.

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