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Javaka Steptoe

Javaka Steptoe photoOnce a model and inspiration for his father, the late African American award-winning author/illustrator John Steptoe, New York Times best selling author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe has established himself as an outstanding talent in his field. This eclectic young artist/educator utilizes everyday objects from aluminum plates to pocket lint, and sometimes a jigsaw and paint, to deliver reflective and thoughtful collage creations filled with vitality, playful energy, and strength.


Javaka has currently illustrated eleven award-winning books and continues to collaborate with celebrated writers on future projects. Steptoe explains,Collage is a means of survival. It is how Black folks survived four hundred years of oppression, by taking scraps and transforming them into something beautiful, into life. He creates artwork that is both personal and universal, celebrating the richness of our collective past through the use of family as a recurring theme. Steptoe contends, “I want my audience, no matter their background, to be able to enter into my world and make personal connections with their lives.”


His life work and artistry is a reflection of his commitment to the cause of children’s education. He believes that art as a tool for education helps strengthen problem solving skills, builds esteem, and fosters independent and innovative thought. Javaka travels extensively, reading and conducting workshops at schools, libraries, museums, and conferences across the country and internationally.


What to Expect from a School Visit:
I have presentations and workshops that align with Common Core standards and can accommodate a variety of different age groups.


I separate them into three categories:


Artist Talk — PowerPoint presentation and informational talk about my life and artistry.


Interactive Storytelling — I facilitate the telling of a story using audience participation props and sometimes an artist of a complementary discipline
Ex: a guitar player for “Jimi-sounds like a rainbow.”


Art Workshop — Participants make artwork based off of themes, materials, and, styles found in my illustrated books.


I can also tailor presentations specific to your school.


Interested in a visit from Javaka Steptoe? Email


Learn more about Javaka Steptoe’s books:


Radiant Child cover


Javaka Steptoe Press Kit