An inspiring memoir of a Caldecott-winning artist and one of the most acclaimed children’s book illustrators of all time, sharing the story of a young artist who finds the courage to follow his passion against all odds.
* "A moving work from a legend of children's literature and a testament to his legacy of visual storytelling." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Jerry Pinkney—creator of Caldecott Medal-winning The Lion & the Mouse and The Little Mermaid—drew everywhere, all the time. Since childhood, it was how he made sense of the world—how he coped with the stress of being a sensitive child growing up in crowded spaces, struggling with a learning disability, in a time when the segregation of Black Americans was the norm. Only drawing could offer him a sense of calm, control, and confidence. When friends and siblings teased him about having the nickname “Jerry” as his only name, his mother always said, “Just ‘Jerry’ is enough. He’ll make something of that name someday.” And so he did, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated children’s book illustrators of all time and paving the way for countless other Black artists.
Jerry’s vivid recollections and lively sketchbook drawings of his youth in postwar America tell an inspiring story of how a hardworking boy pursued his passion in less-than-ideal circumstances and became a legendary artist against all odds.
About the Author
Jerry Pinkney (1939-2021) was one of the most heralded children's book illustrators of all time and illustrated more than 100 books. He had the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honors and the winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse, and created several companion books: The Tortoise & the Hare, The Grasshopper & the Ants, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Little Mermaid. He won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award five times and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor four times. Jerry received several major lifetime achievement awards and was also the first children's book illustrator elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lived with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
* "A moving work from a legend of children's literature and a testament to his legacy of visual storytelling."—Kirkus Reviews
* "Pinkney offers an intimate look back to his childhood in this poignant, posthumously published memoir. Pinkney's conversational text, printed in a dyslexia-friendly font, is accompanied by equally energetic and copious sketches that weave in and out of the pages."—The Horn Book
"Readers who were engrossed by Pinkney’s works as children will similarly revel in and be grateful for this accessible invitation into his art and life."—BCCB
* "A unique resource created by one of America's most beloved illustrators."—Booklist
* "Just Jerry is a moving and vivid reminder that a life in art can be made possible through hard work and dedication, and by giving talented young people the tools and support they need to succeed."—BookPage
* "Just Jerry immerses readers in the life of a remarkable man who made his indelible mark on the world of illustration. Pinkney leaves a precious gift to readers with his final work."—Shelf Awareness
* "Jerry masterfully describes the world in which he grew up. School librarians will definitely want to add this title to their collections."—School Library Connection
* "A must-have for school libraries; perfect for author studies, lessons on book awards, and all fans of Pinkney’s work."—School Library Journal