Radiant Child

The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Caldecott & Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner)


By Javaka Steptoe

Formats and Prices




$24.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 25, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award!

Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean—and definitely not inside the lines!—to be beautiful.

  • Praise for Radiant Child:
    Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott MedalAn IndieBound BestsellerWinner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator AwardEssence Magazine Top Ten Books of the YearNAACP Image Awards Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work in ChildrenBank Street College of Education 2017 Best Children's Book of the YearNPR Best Books of 2016Washington Post Best Books of 2016Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016School Library Journal Best Books of 2016Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2016Horn Book Fanfare Best Books of 2016New York Public Library 2016 Best Books for KidsChicago Public Library 2016 Best Books for KidsALA Notable Book for ChildrenA CCBC Best of Year ChoiceA Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017 SelectionHorn Book 2017 Summer Reading ChoiceAmazon Best Book of November 2016
  • *"Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the 'sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL' paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist's energy and mystery. Stellar bookmarking--a riveting portrait of a young artist."
    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • *"In this visually arresting and vibrantly narrated biography, Steptoe...emulates 1980s street art by layering paint, paper scraps, paint tubes, and photos on found-wood panels.... Steptoe downplays tragic elements, instead celebrating Basquiat's irreverance and brilliance."
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • *"Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation."
    The Horn Book (starred review)
  • *"One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography.... Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary."
    School Library Journal (starred review)
  • * "This is a beautifully illustrated biography...[and] an excellent read aloud, especially in the art classroom."
    School Library Connection (starred review)
  • * "A lively, engaging introduction to a one-of-a-kind artist perfect for art-loving kids.... An excellent read-aloud."
    Booklist, starred review
  • "Vibrantly colored, humming with energy, Javaka Steptoe's paintings evoke the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat."
  • "Steptoe tells a complex story in simple child-appropriate language and illustrates it with paintings brimming with joy, sorrow and outsized inspiration."
    Chicago Tribune
  • "Art need not be neat to be beautiful, a message underscored by this boldly beautiful bio of a 1980s phenom."
    San Francisco Tribune

On Sale
Oct 25, 2016
Page Count
40 pages

Javaka Steptoe

About the Author

Javaka Steptoe is a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Illustrator award-winning artist, designer, and illustrator. His debut picture book, In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall, won the Coretta Scott King Award, and Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow (written by Gary Golio) received a Coretta Scott King Honor. He has also illustrated Do You Know What I’ll Do? by Charlotte Zolotow, A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, Amiri and Odette: A Love Story by Walter Dean Myers, Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, and Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, which received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. He is also the author and illustrator of The Jones Family Express, as well as the Caldecott award-winning Radiant Child. Javaka invites you to visit his website at Javaka.com.

Learn more about this author