In this exquisitely beautiful children’s picture book, young readers are introduced to photographer Roy DeCarava, born in Harlem, N.Y., in 1919 to a Jamaican mother and an American father.
In this envisioning of DeCarava’s life as an adult, author Gary Golio and illustrator E. B. Lewis depict the photographer as he strolls the streets of Harlem after a day’s work, “hungry” to capture on film the beauty of his neighborhood. He takes photographs of a boy on his hands and knees, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk; an artist on the street selling his paintings; a woman taking a picture of her son with a small camera; children playing in the cooling spray of an open fire hydrant; a young girl in a long white dress standing alone in the evening; and more.
Wherever DeCarava goes, he “feels like Superman. Invisible rays come out of his eyes, scanning everything around him. He sees so much beauty. Everywhere. Does everyone have this power?”
Short quotations defining DeCarava’s thoughts about truth, beauty, and living complement Golio’s insightful narrative and E. B. Lewis’s stunning watercolor pictures. For example, DeCarava said, “It doesn’t have to be pretty to be true, but if it’s true it’s beautiful. Truth is beautiful.”
In an author’s note, Gary Golio relates DeCarava’s mission in his own words: “I try to photograph things that are near to me because I work best among things I know. My photographs are subjective and personal—they’re intended to be accessible, to relate to people’s lives. ... People—their well-being and survival—are the crux of what’s important to me.”
Everywhere Beauty is Harlem is a lovely window into the life of a brilliant photographer who loved his community and never forgot his roots. It’s a moving testimony to how God’s world is filled with beauty that can be discovered by those who have eyes to see it.
About the Author
Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.