It Jes by Don Tate

It Jes

Growing up as an enslaved boy on an Alabama cotton farm, Bill Traylor worked all day in the hot fields. When slavery ended, Bill's family stayed on the farm as sharecroppers. There Bill grew to manhood, raised his own family, and cared for the land and his animals.By 1935 Bill was eighty-one and all alone on his farm. So he packed his bag and moved to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. Lonely and poor, he wandered the busy downtown streets. But ...

Details It Jes

TitleIt Jes
Release DateApr 1st, 2012
PublisherLee & Low Books
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Biography, Art, Nonfiction, Cultural, African American, History

Reviews It Jes

  • Betsy
    Teaching kids about outsider art feels like a no-brainer to me. Which is to say, why doesn't it happen more often? Perhaps there's a feeling that educating kids on the self-taught is ultimately self-defeating. Can't say as I agree, of course. Seems to me that learning about the great outsider artists could give a kid a kind of hope. This is particularly true in the case of Bill Traylor. Here you have a guy who lived a whole life, discovered an ar...
  • Melissa
    I liked the writing and the repeated idea that Bill Traylor's art, produced in his later years, drew on a lifetime of memories and experience. I appreciate the sources and quote citations in the front of the book and the author's note in the back. I love that the art in the book reflected Traylor's idiosyncratic style. And of course I love any time a lesser-known figure from history gets a spot on the shelf next to all of the Abraham Lincolns and...
  • ReadingWench
    "Bill saved up these memories deep inside" It Jes' Happened is another fantastic gem, hidden in the shelves of picture books for pre-schoolers. Do not be fooled. This 4th grade level book is filled with historical accounts a daily life of a slave, then former slave, a baby to an old man. It can be considered a biography or even a non-fiction book by me and the Library of Congress.It is on a 4th to 5th grade level.AR 4.8
  • Lu Benke
    Fascinating. Pictures tell their own story. I could hear what Bill Traylor sounded like. This book made me want to go online and enjoy his art.
  • Caitlin C
    Don Tate's It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw is a delightful account of the life of African-American artist Bill Traylor. As an artist myself, I have to appreciate learning about Bill Traylor and his emergence in the art world. As a teacher-to-be, I have to appreciate the rich opportunities for learning it provides in the classroom.Tate writes this book with such a colorful style. It is humorous in parts, sad in others, and ligh...
  • Lela
    1. Twin Text: Seed Magic by Jane Buchanan Copyright 20112. Rationale: It Jes Happened is the captivating story of a former slave, Bill Traylor, who became one of the most respected American Folk artists in history. He was born into slavery, and worked long days in the fields picking cotton. His family found freedom after the Civil War, but stayed on the land and worked as share croppers with their former owners. Bill didn’t begin drawing and pa...
  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    I just love these stories about self-taught folk artists! Bill Traylor reminded me of Grandma Moses, who suddenly began to paint when in her late 70s. Bill, a former slave, began his artistic career even later in life--he was 81! He drew on old pieces of cardboard or paper bags or whatever scrap he could get hold of, using first a pencil stub and later a few colored pencils and paints. His drawings were simple and reflected his memories of times ...
  • Cindi
    A recent children's picture book celebrating the work of folk artist Bill Traylor will appeal to those who are fans of folk art and anyone interested in the history of art in America.The story of Bill Traylor and his simple, yet moving artwork is the subject of "It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw" by Don Tate and R. Gregory Christie. In images reminiscent of those created by Bill and accompanied by a smooth and flowing text, the ...
  • Paul Hankins
    A celebration of the oral tradition and the power of early experiences as catalyst for writing or creating artwork.If you might have asked Bill Traylor why he started to draw, he might have responded, "It jes' came to me." When the folks from the Traylor farm died, Bill's wife died, and his children had moved out and moved on, Billy Traylor wandered toward Montgomery, Alabama, an eighty-one-year-old about to embark upon a whole new journey.Lee an...
  • Maureen
    This book is a New Voices Award honor book.This book tells the story of Bill Traylor who started to draw when he was 85 years old. His life is detailed from his birth to his eventual death at 95-years-old. Bill never planned to be an artist and was very humble about it when people bought his artwork or put it in a gallery for display. He was just a hard-working farmer filled with images that he started to draw when he was too old to farm and had ...
  • Jim Erekson
    This book joins others in an effort to lend depth and breadth to the African American biography selection. Biography of vital yet less mythical figures is an important movement in historical fiction. Traylor's outsider art is an obvious inspiration for Christie's folk art style. Christie avoids mimicking Traylor until he starts to draw the story of Traylor drawing.Interesting peritextual detail: The author's note, sources, and quotation sources a...
  • Kris
    3 starred reviews (7.23.12): SLJ, Kirkus, Booklist"...Traylor’s tale demanded an illustrator that could replicate his near two-dimensional style. Christie delivers. In this book the characters in Traylor’s memories walk and dance and pray in ways similar to those found in his art. Christie simultaneously creates something lively and fun while paying a kind of homage to the book’s subject..."--Fuse #8."...Christie’s acrylic and gouache ill...
  • Tasha
    This picture book is a beautiful tribute to a legendary folk artist. Bill Traylor grew up a slave in Alabama. Born in 1854, he worked in the fields as a child. When the slaves were freed at the end of the Civil War, his family stayed on working as sharecroppers on the same land they worked as slaves. As things happened to him throughout his life, from hunger to parties, Bill Traylor remembered it all. When he finally left the farm and headed to t...
  • Carol
    Bill Traylor grew up as a slave in the cotton fields of Alabama. His family stayed on as sharecroppers after slavery ended. When Bill was 81-years-old he decided he had lived on a farm long enough and moved to the city. However, finding a job was difficult in the 1930's for an elderly ex-slave who had no education. Bill couldn't even read or write. He was determined and spunky and despite suffering from rheumatism was able to find odd jobs now an...
  • Felicia H
    This book provides children and adults with the lesson of no matter how old you can always make shifts to your life. Bill started off as a slave, then to a sharecropper, and finally an artist without even trying. He took his memory of his rich farm life, doing what he loved, sharecropping and turned it into beautiful paintings. Bill became known as one of the most favorite self-taught artist during his time and this book is well deserving of Ezra...
  • Samantha
    Bill Traylor was born into slavery, but will be remembered for his artwork. After his farm is gone and most of his family passes away, Bill finds himself missing pieces of his past. To combat the pain, he draws the images in his mind and is remembered today as one of the most important self-taught Anerican folk artists.The writing traces Traylor's life in a poetic way, each paragraph ending with the same refrain: "Bill saved up memories of these ...
  • Robin
    Bill Traylor, born into slavery in Alabama in 1854, didn't begin to draw until he was 85. Yet his drawings reveal all that he remembered, memories long stored in his mind and heart. Author Don Tate uses the phrase "Bill saved up memories of these times deep inside himself." Illustrator Gregory Christie's illustrations accompany the dramatic narrative of Traylor's life. Deep, saturated opaque gouache colors convey a folk art feel reminiscent of Tr...
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Bill Traylor was eighty-one years old when, out of the blue, he began to draw. He'd saved up memories of a lifetime, memories of Sunday morning church services and swimming in the river with his friends and picking cotton on the farm, and he suddenly began to draw little pictures of fighting cats and men in tall hats and hunters on horses. A show was arranged for Bill and he had a chance to share his memories with the world.I love this beautifull...
  • Juliana Lee
    Readers learn about a little known African-American artist in this simply beautiful biography. Bill Traylor grew up a slave and then a shareholder to a cotton farm. He grew old and saved all his memories deep inside him. As an old man, he moved to the city. He didn't have much but his memories so he started drawing on the street corner. Soon an artist recognized his talent and started providing him with colored pencils, good art paper, and paints...
  • Jesse
    While I enjoyed learning about a self-made artist, including his past and why he chose to draw, illustrated by a fellow folk artist, I just can't fathom how his story can be told without his own illustrations. I wish they'd at least been included, if not used to create the pages themselves. Other than that, this books tells it like it is; slavery is mentioned as a fact of life, and I like that it doesn't gloss over it. This would be a great book ...
  • Beth Anderson
    The length of Tate’s text might deter some readers, but it’s worth slowing down and taking the time to immerse yourself in the rich details of the experiences that shaped Traylor’s life. Tate moves from his usual role as illustrator to share a different time and way of life, this time through words. The line “Bill saved up these memories deep inside” echoes through the text until the memories flow forth in a unique form of art. This por...
  • Matthew
    Bill Traylor is hardly a household name when it comes to art, but this was a nice book. It describes Traylor's life and his art, though his life as an artist strikes me as strange. He seemed to be an older man who'd developed a drawing hobby. I don't have a problem with that, but I keep thinking that I know a lot of people that like draw a lot. Still, I have no real understanding of the art world, so I don't know what I'm talking about. I liked t...
  • Elizabeth
    Historyical Fic - Civil War through the 1940s. Biography of Bill Traylor - artist. New Voices Honor BookALSC Blog post from the author, Don Tate: Bird from A Fuse#8 Production: She notes an alike book in Dave the Potter.
  • Miss Pippi the Librarian
    Bill Traylor spend his entire life farming. When his family passed away and moved away, he moved too. He made his way to Montgomery to live where he discovered a hard way of life, but also a new beginning - in art.Themes: history, memories, artCharacters: Bill Traylor, Charles ShannonArtwork: acrylic and gouacheAuthor's Note: A tiny paragraph in the opening book information section about the title/quote. One page afterward about folk art and redi...
  • Cara Byrne
    A non-fiction picture book introduction to Bill Traylor, an enslaved boy who becomes a free man who works for many years as a sharecropper until his family had moved or passed away. However, his life did not end there. At the age of 81, when he was practically homeless, he began to draw images from his memory and became "one of the most important self-taught American folk artists." Tate's story is well written and Christie's illustrations are per...
  • Jeanne Williams
    The folk art illustrations echo the drawings that Bill Traylor began to make when he moved to the city after eighty-five years on a farm as a slave and sharecropper. The recurring theme of the book--"Bill saved up memories of these times deep inside." --sets the stage for the drawings that well up from his past after he moves to Montgomery. The text covers the span of Bill's life and admits that why he began to draw so late in life is still a mys...
  • Christina
    Fascinating story of folk artist Bill Traylor, who lived as a sharecropper, a freed slave, and farmed until the age of 85, then when living hand-to-mouth in Montgomery Alabama began to paint his memories, on any scraps of cardboard or canvas he could find. Guy from Cleveland Institute of Art discovered and displayed his art and he found a following. Beautiful art in this book, in the style of Bill Traylor--simplistic, colorful, flat (dimensionall...
  • Kris Odahowski
    Biographies have a great way of opening new parts of world to their readers. I had never seem any of Bill Traylor work before I read this book, illustrations in the book hint of folk art style. The strength of the book is it's ability to interest the reader in further exploration. This book is available for check out at the Gadsden County Public Library.