A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

About the Author

Jen Bryant writes picture books, novels, and poems for readers of all ages. Her biography A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, also illustrated by Melissa Sweet, received a Caldecott Honor. Their second collaboration, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, won an ALA Schneider Family Book Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus award, and a Sibert Honor. The duo's third book, The Right Word: Peter Mark Roget and His Thesaurus, won the Sibert Medal and a Caldecott Honor. Jen’s novel in verse, Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial, is an Oprah Recommended Book for ages 12 and up.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. Her collages and paintings have appeared in the New York Times and Martha Stewart Living, on Madison Park Greetings and Smilebox cards, and on a line of eeBoo toys. She received a Caldecott Honor Medal for A River of Words by Jen Bryant and two New York Times Best Illustrated citations.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

# 498200

Award Winner


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Jen Bryant; Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: "He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him." He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his coworkers. Even during World War I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was injured. Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint—and paint and paint! Soon people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.


Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet team up once again to share this inspiring story of a self-taught painter from humble beginnings who, despite many obstacles, was ultimately able to do what he loved and be recognized for who he was: an artist.

  • Hardcover
  • 40 pages
  • Published: 2013
  • Recommended for ages 5–8


A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award

An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book

Winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children


Editorial Reviews

“Quotations from Pippin about the psychological scars of war and his artistic process are hand-drawn into Sweet’s images, underscoring how art was not only a joyful outlet for Pippin, but also a vital means of interpreting the world.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bryant’s meticulously researched, eloquent text makes this a winning read-aloud, while Sweet’s vibrant, folksy illustrations, rendered in watercolor, gouache, and mixed media, portray the joys and hardships of the man’s life, using his trademark palette…with just a splash of red.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“This outstanding portrait of African-American artist Horace Pippin (1888-1946) allows Pippin’s work to shine—and his heart too.” —Kirkus, starred review

“A well-structured narrative with recurring themes and a highly accessible style. . . . Outstanding.” —Booklist, starred review

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