Artist, educator, and children’s book illustrator, E.B. Lewis is a graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art; E.B. is a fine artist, whose considerable talents are a gift to the world of children’s books. Among his many recognitions, Lewis has been honored with the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, the Caldecott Honor Medal, and the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. His work has been described by reviewers as: extraordinarily accomplished, authentic, luminous, unforgettable, eye-catching, evocative, and exquisite.
Bringing his experiences as an educator to his work in illustration, Mr. Lewis respects and understands his child audience. Well known for illustrating books that explore the complexity of our social histories, E.B. Lewis is thorough with his research and meticulous with his process. His ability to interpret the human experience allows his illustrations to work fluidly across different periods in history, depicting them with poignancy and depth for young readers.
Many of the books Mr. Lewis has illustrated offer a narrative of the African American experience. Titles such as Margot Theis Raven’s The Circle Unbroken: The Story of a Basket and its People, Hester Bass’s Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville Alabama, and most recently, Susan E. Goodman’s The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial make a vital contribution to the body of children’s literature, telling the stories not found in history textbooks.
But what truly distinguishes E.B. Lewis’s work is his ability to use the medium of watercolor to evoke emotional response across picture book genres. In Coming on Home Soon, a work of historical fiction, written by Jacqueline Woodson and set during World War II, readers instantly relate to the constancy of longing while missing an absent loved one. In Each Kindness, a contemporary realistic fiction title, also by Jacqueline Woodson, readers experience a different kind of longing, the regret a young girl feels, as she reflects on compassion unoffered to a now absent classmate. In Trouper, a book written by Meg Kearney in the first person voice of a rescue dog, E.B. Lewis allows the reader to experience the pure exuberant joy that even a three legged Labrador Retriever finds in the chase and the embrace of his boy companion. In Hester Bass’s The Secret World of Walter Anderson, an award winning nonfiction picture book, Mr. Lewis explores the quiet joy of solitude and concentrated focus experienced by an artist who paints the natural world. In diverse settings, through diverse characters, and embedded in diverse experiences, E.B. Lewis offers us his lens on the landscape of human emotions. As we, as a society, work toward greater inclusivity and connection, this perspective on our common humanity is truly a powerful offering.