Leo Politi began life on a sunny horse farm near Fresno, California.
At the age of six, he and his family moved to Broni, a small hill
town in northern Italy. There Leo became known as "Il piccolo
Americano," the little American. Although his adult fame would be as
an illustrator and author, Leos first foray into the art world may
well have been more performance piece than anything else, making a
sensation in town with the colorful Indian costume he wore daily.
Before long, Leo was leading a troupe of similarly dressed children
up and down the streets of Broni. Though the tiny Italian village
proved to be just as idyllic a place to live as the fields of Fresno,
for Leo, California was home. So, as a young man, after a stint in
the Italian army, Leo boarded a freighter bound for America. As the
boat made its way along the Central American coast, Leo was entranced
by the landscape, the color, and the people he saw. It was, in fact,
the journey as much as the destination that would affect his artwork
and subject matter. Leo was a true innovator in children's books.
Rather than setting his stories in a generic landscape the city, the
town, or the farm many of Leos books detail individual cultures. His
most famous book, "The Song of the Swallows," combines his love of
Latino life with a reverence for nature. A Caldecott winner, "The
Song of the Swallows" tells of the clouds of birds that return each
year to a small church courtyard in San Juan Capistrano, California.
All told, Leo would write and illustrate over twenty books during the
course of five decades. In "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels," Ann
Stalcup, fan and friend of Leos for twenty years, chronicles the
life and career of a man who lived to create art. Over fifty of Leos
pieces from massive mural to delicate sketch enhance the story of his
long and fruitful life.
Physical Description: 104 pages
Edition Info: Hardcover; 2004-11-30
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