Sister Corita’s Words and Shapes by Jeanette Winter


Sister Corita’s Words and Shapes by Jeanette Winter. Beach Lane Books, 2021. 9781534496019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Biography

What did you like about the book? Sister Corita, a nun as well as a teacher and artist, lived in a religious order during the 1960s. Her art was very much a product of that turbulent era. According to the biographical information in the back matter “The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and pop art informed her work”. Her art was also influenced by Vatican II, which loosened some of the more traditional aspects of Catholicism. Sister Corita chose to express her love of God and goodness through her bright, joyful art.

Her teaching methods encouraged students to look for art in their everyday surroundings, observing words and images in the city. Sister Corita took commercial images and added her own words. She made silkscreen prints, printing many copies so they would be affordable to everyone. The book shows her leading a celebration of St. Mary’s Day at the convent, making the event colorful and joyous. But despite the changes ushered in by Vatican II, the Archbishop called her work blasphemous. After this condemnation, Corita left the order and moved to Boston where she continued to make art.

Jeanette Winter’s bold, colorful illustrations capture the vivacious nature of Corita’s artwork. The endpapers consist of a series of images of Sister Corita making her silkscreened art, which charmingly illustrate her work process. The uncomplicated text compliments the illustration style, getting a sizable amount of information across to the reader.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Elementary school readers interested in art.

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools, public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Biography

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Kerry A. Lamare, Robbins Library, Arlington MA

Date of review: November 23, 2021  

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