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Ablaze with Color

Ablaze with Color

A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Jeanne Walker Harvey
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Celebrate the life-changing power of art in this inspiring and stunningly illustrated picture book biography of American artist Alma Thomas.

Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the 20th century. Told from the point of view of young Alma Thomas, readers can follow along as she grows into her discovery of the life-changing power of art.

As a child in Georgia, Alma Thomas loved to spend time outside, soaking up the colors around her. And her parents filled their home with color and creativity despite the racial injustices they faced. After the family moved to Washington DC, Alma shared her passion for art by teaching children. When she was almost seventy years old, she focused on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.

In this celebration of art and the power of imagination, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the incredible true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. With her bold and vibrant abstract paintings, Alma set the world ablaze with color.

Ablaze with Color includes extensive backmatter with photos, an author's and illustrator's note, a timeline, and a list of sources and resources, which will be a great tool for parents, educators, and librarians. Perfect for Women's History Month and Black History Month units alongside such favorites as Malala's Magic Pencil, Hidden Figures, and Mae Among the Stars.

Jeanne Walker Harvey is a long-time docent for school groups at the San Francisco Museum of Art, home of one of Alma's most famous paintings, "Cumulus," so this is a subject matter she's extremely passionate about. She is also the author of the acclaimed Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines. Loveis Wise illustrated Ibi Zoboi's picture book debut, The People Remember. Outside the book world, they are known for their New Yorker magazine covers and their Google Doodle for Black History Month, among other projects. In this book, their work layers textures and patterns seamlessly and uses bold, vibrant colors to bring Alma's story to life in a perfect homage to Alma Thomas's colorful, abstract artwork.


Jeanne Walker Harvey has been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just like Alma Thomas, Jeanne believes that art brings us joy. Her other picture books include Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California. Visit her online at

Loveis Wise is an illustrator and designer from Washington, DC. They are currently based in Los Angeles and their work often speaks to themes of joy and liberation. Their work can be found through the New Yorker, Google, Adobe, and the New York Times. You can find them online at


  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 8, 2022)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover:  40 pages
  • ISBN-10:‎ 0063021897
  • ISBN-13: ‎9780063021891
  • Reading age:‎ 4-8 years
  • Grade level: Preschool-3
  • Item Weight: ‎ 1.42 pounds


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