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Have you ever visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.? Have you seen it’s mirrored surfaces and how it brings the past toward the present, bringing unity? In Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands, we learn the story of the artist behind this memorial.
This was a very interesting book to read, it was fascinating to see into the mind of a young woman as she worked on her skills in architecture and design, seeing her reasoning behind why she builds memorials the way she does. I just love stories about the why of how people do things, it’s always a fascinating look into the mind and will of another person. I thought it clever the way the chapters were labeled with building mediums. 🙂
We are brought from her early life, onwards to her current projects. Well-written text with good illustrations brought her life and her work into clarity. Written on a level for middle school and high school students to easily read and understand. As an adult, I was able to read through the book in about an hour.
I loved the graphics…all the real life pictures along with the occasional topographical map, brought her work to understanding in my mind, about the effort involved to bring her concepts to life. She built so many sculptures, and takes her time working to truly understand the project before making a decision about how to approach it. I appreciated the fact that she used all sorts of mediums to convey her thoughts.. moulding the ground, building with various materials, utilizing water, weather, and more.
The typeface used was a clear and not muddied, very easy to read. You need to check out a map she was working with to create a sculpture using the earth? Neat eh?
One of the elements I most appreciated was how they showed Maya Lin’s determination to have her work presented in the way she deemed best WHILE she took her opponents thoughts into perspective. Not forcing her own way, but using their thoughts to improve her own work. It shows humility combined with skill.. and that’s a good thing to have eh?
This would be an excellent book to have any middle schooler read and think about it. It’s good to see how people think about how their past can affect their future, and how even a school project can get you noticed. Maya Lin took a chance and succeeded. Taking in advise from others and knowing how to stick to your goals and ideas, and how to modify them if needed. It would be a nice add-on to a study of the Vietnam War as well as other memorials scattered around the United States.
Maya Lin: Thinking with her hands Susan Goldman Rubin Chronicle Books Age 10+ 112 pages, hardcover Biography, art, Architect, architecture Middle School Reviewed for Raincoast Books.
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