Celebrating Black History Month with Horace Pippin and “A Splash of Red”

I am SO lucky! We are so fortunate to live in a county that supports a fantastic public library system and my local library – Middleburg – never, NEVER lets me down. When I walked in the other day, one of the librarians handed me two books and said, ” I think you should look at these.” WOW! Thank you, Tia.

If you have never heard of Horace Pippin (and I had not) please, go get yourself, your child, your small friend a copy of this book. It is so charming.

In, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet have come together to make art and an artist so accessible to young children that they will want to pick up a pencil and piece of paper, and maybe a red crayon for that splash of red and start drawing immediately.

Horace Pippin has a remarkable story – he grew up in Pennsylvania in the warmth of his family. As a child, he loved to draw, but sometimes, in school his drawing got him into trouble. In eighth grade he had to leave school to go to work, but he still drew whenever he had the chance. Even when he went off to war, the pictures still came to him and he filled his notebooks.

Adversity comes to Horace when he is wounded, but he doesn’t give up. I won’t spoil the story for you. During Black History Month I can’t think of a better book to share with a child. Horace Pippin loved his family, his country, and he loved to draw. We are so fortunate that his paintings survive today in museums around the country as a testimony of that love.

In an effort to strengthen our little ones’ love of art, the National Gallery of Art’s Classroom for Teachers and Students, has created a number of lesson plans for parents and teachers to share with their children and amazingly, I happened to stumble across one focusing on Horace:

In Counting on Art, students will explore the paintings of Horace Pippin and Wayne Thiebaud and the mobiles of Alexander Calder to discover and practice math and visual art concepts.

In Pippin’s Story, young children (grades K–3) focus on a painting by African American artist Horace Pippin. They will learn how to “read” the clues in a painting and write a story about the work. Students will also solve counting and time problems and create their own “secret number” painting.

Each lesson includes:

– lesson plan with objectives, implementation plan, assessment guidelines, and discussion questions
– student activities: lessons with math challenges and classroom and/or online art-making activities
– pertinent national math and visual arts standards
– a brief biography of the artist
– a glossary of art and/or math terms
– online and print resources for extended explorations

The lessons may be done independently or together, depending on classroom focus and time constraints.


  1. says

    Thank you for this wonderful review! We have also created a website for this book: ASplashofRedBook.com with information for educators and librarians including a discussion guide. And there’s a sweet video about Horace on the homepage.

    • cattailchronicles says

      So glad you found us and so happy to promote your book – I really do love it and have shared it with many of my friends! We are now on the hunt for a Horace Pippin painting that we can go to see. It just goes to show there IS always something new to learn.

      Thanks for the link to your site, we’ve posted it up on our facebook page: http://on.fb.me/11Wf6Vn

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