Blog Tour, Day #6: Ellen’s Broom

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Day #6 of the  Ellen’s Broom blog tour. Ellen’s Broom is a picture book written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter, published by Putnam Juvenile. It’s a winner, already collecting accolades from the Junior Library Guild.

Ellen’s Broom is a perfect marriage of words and pictures. No pun intended, though Ellen’s Broom is a story that honors the institution of marriage. It explains, for children, the African American tradition of jumping the broom.

Daniel Minter’s illustrations dazzle with crisp lines and bright colors. He created his art by carving images into linoleum block, hand printing, and then coloring with paint. The result is a treat for the eyes, bold and confident.

Today I feature a brief interview of Daniel Minter.

Don: Tell us about your art for Ellen’s Broom.

Daniel: I was thrilled to get the opportunity to create the illustrations for Ellen’s Broom because at the time I was working on a series using brooms in my artwork. The brooms I was making were not all wedding brooms but one of the reasons I was using the broom was to recall the tradition of jumping the broom in the African American wedding ritual.

The illustrations for Ellen’s Broom were all created using linoleum block prints that were printed in black ink the painted using thin acrylic paint similar to the way water color is used. Before settling on the painted Lino-cut, I tried a more painterly technique but we found that the bold line and hand carved look gave the illustrations more of a rustic look to fit the period of the story.

Daniel Minter is the illustrator of many books for young readers. Other books he’s illustrated include The Footwarmer and the Crow, written by Evelyn Coleman; Seven Spools of Thread, written by Angela Shelf Medearis; and New Year Be Coming: A Gullah Year, written by Katharine Boling.

In addition to artwork created for children’s books, Minter is the designer and illustrator for the new Kwanzaa stamp.

From A Statement on the Art of Daniel Minter from the artist’s website:

“Minter’s art is a protective art. And an art of protection. Firm lines. Crossed roads. Boxes. Square things. And the open circles of offering. The discipline of love.”

“Daniel Minter’s art work is a study of memory. The many ways in which memory is embedded into our past, present and future. It is the interconnection of time that contains the essence of what memory has left behind. These concepts are the inspiration for Daniel Minter’s paintings and sculpture.”



Ellen’s Broom brought forth memories of my own wedding, the day my wife and I jumped the broom. Here’s a photo of our wedding (Don and Tamera), and the wedding invitations that we designed (for more than 600 people):

See also:

Meat Tray Block Printing – Inspired by Ellen’s Broom, hosted at Simple Saturday

Oh, and don’t forget: If you leave a comment on this blog, Kelly’s FaceBook author page, or on any stop along the tour, you win a chance to receive the grand prize — a lovely wedding/anniversary broom courtesy of Stuart’s Creations and a signed poster of the Ellen’s Broom cover. Kelly will draw the winner on the morning of January 16. (Due to postage costs, the winner must be from the United States or Canada.)

See the complete blog tour schedule here.

Thanks again for stopping by!

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