Land is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie, Paintings by Kathy
at the Woody Guthrie Store
with kids probably knows folk artist Kathy Jakobsen's work. Her fine oil paintings illustrate some of our favorite books, including
the incredible My New York.
When we decided
to illustrate the lyrics of "This Land is Your Land"
for kids, Kathy was asked to come aboard as the artist for this
daunting task. The lyrics of "This Land"
have so many meanings to so many people. It would be a real
challenge to try to capture it all. The answer came in one
simple word...details. Kids love details and Kathy
is a master of detail!
came to the archives to do some research. We loaded her down
with every available book, recording, story, anecdote, family name
and photo we had on Woody's life and creative work. Then she
disappeared for a year.
Next time we
saw her she had read, listened to, looked at, fingered through and
sketched out in her mind every detail we had fed her. It
was awesome how much she had absorbed. "I work like a
sponge," she said.
She worked for
the next six months painting in her studio in Connecticut.
Every so often she'd drop by, or we'd go up to her place, to answer
more questions. She would show us what she was working on
and continued to rack our memories, asking everything from "what
color shirt did he wear?" to "what kind of fence was around
the family home in Okemah?" She studied up on American
history - the Dust Bowl, the Depression, political movements.
The paintings grew and grew each time we saw them. Landscapes
formed, specifics were added, colors chose, peoples faces, friends
and family members appeared. Hundreds of facts and details
were woven together to paint the bigger picture.
As you turn
the pages with your kids, you'll see as much of Woody's life - his
family, his friends, his travels, his beliefs, his songs, his legacy
- as you might read in a 1000-page biography. You'll also
find an artist's unique vision of the simple words "this land
was made for you and me."
decided to complete the book with a short biography of Woody's life
specifically written for youngsters. We added some of our
favorite photos of Woody's life to enhance the story. (Kids
also like pictures!)
a year and a half of her life to give us years and years of Woody's
past, present and future. We are very, very grateful to her.
especially for educators, day care providers and others who work
with children, Weston Woods has produced a new video using Kathy
Jakobsen's paintings from her book. Combined with photographs
depicting Woody's life, the video creates a richly visual storyline
with spoken narrative biography.
Jakobsen is one of America's premier folk artists. Her paintings
are part of a number of permanent collections, including those
of the Museum of American folk Art and the Smithsonian.
She is represented by Frank J. Miele Gallery, in New York City. She is also the illustrator of the acclaimed children's books Johnny Appleseed, by Reeve Lindbergh, and her own My
New York and Meet Me in the Magic Kingdom.
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
A School Library Journal Best Book
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Parenting Book of the Year