In celebration of Black History Month, we’ll be highlighting a diverse range of books – poetry, novels, memoirs and more – all written by Black American authors. Each of these works moved, engaged, delighted, enraged, and excited Island Free Library readers’ this past year, and we’ll be featuring one title every day through the month of February.
Today’s work is Tyler Gordon’s We Can: Portraits of Power, a beautiful picture book of portraits painted by Gordon. Each portrait is a person who is powerful and inspirational to Gordon -from Janet Jackson to Martin Luther King – and each portrait includes a small excerpt about who they are and why they inspire Gordon. For Gordon, his paintbrush is power, and art gave him an escape from bullying and a way to show kids that they can do whatever they dream – “we can!”
Tyler Gordon is an fifteen year-old artist and author who was born deaf, and who only began painting a few years ago. His talent was immediately recognized after his work went viral – Gordon received acclaim for his style, called “shadow painting.” His portrait of Lebron James covered Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year issue in 2020, and his work has since been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, USA Today, CBS Nightly News, Essence Magazine, among many others. Gordon lives and paints in San Jose, California. Stay tuned for a new book tomorrow!