Dancing Through Fields of Color

GIVEAWAY!!  Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Last week Elizabeth Brown shared her process of finding how to write the story that became Dancing Through Fields of Color.  This week I have more about the book and an opportunity to win your very own copy of this very lovely biography of Helen Frankenthaler. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win!

Elizabeth Brown Dancing Through Fields of Color Book Birthday March 2019


Title: Dancing Through Fields of Color, the Story of Helen Frankenthaler

Written by: Elizabeth Brown

Illustrated by: Aimee Sicuro

Abrams, 2019, biography

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/topics: art, painters


At a time when girls were taught to sit still, learn their manners, and color inside the lines, Helen Frankenthaler colored her reds, blues, and yellows any which way she chose.

Helen never wanted to follow the rules.

They said only men could paint powerful pictures, but Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) splashed her way through the modern art world. Channeling deep emotion, Helen poured paint onto her canvas and danced with the colors to make art unlike anything anyone had ever seen. She used unique tools like mops and squeegees to push the paint around, to dazzling effects. Frankenthaler became an originator of the influential “Color Field” style of abstract expressionist painting with her “soak stain” technique, and her artwork continues to electrify new generations of artists today. Dancing Through Fields of Color discusses Frankenthaler’s early life, how she used colors to express emotion, and how she overcame the male-dominated art world of the 1950s.

Activities and Resources:
“Poured Paint/Soak-Stain Activity” in the back matter looks like total fun and a great way to foster loads of creativity. Enjoy!

There are so many great picture book bios on artists these days. Check out a few, then compare and contrast the bios, the artists, and their art.

Why I like this book:
The text ebbs and flows and surges, bringing life and energy to Frankenthaler’s story. Knowing what I know now from Elizabeth Brown’s post last week for Behind the Scenes, I can see that her experimentation with and immersion in the techniques the artist used brought forth a text that really imitates the art. Though painting is a rather quiet pursuit, Brown’s tremendous selection of verbs carry the story from Frankenthaler’s heart to our own.

The softly colored illustrations are warm and inviting, free and flowing. This story of a rebel artist who found her way will no doubt inspire kids to play with their own creativity and find their own freedom in art.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Dancing Through Fields of Color. (US addresses only, please) The winner will be announced next Friday, March 22.


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge on Kid Lit Frenzy on Wednesdays for more great nonfiction books for kids! 


25 thoughts on “Dancing Through Fields of Color

  1. This line alone – “Though painting is a rather quiet pursuit, Brown’s tremendous selection of verbs carry the story from Frankenthaler’s heart to our own” – makes me want to find this book. Great review and I can’t wait to find a copy. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations Elizabeth! Her book really intrigues me because she dares to be different with her “soak stain” technique, which gives her artwork dreamy appeal. The text sounds lovely. Look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this beautiful, whimsical book full of wonder and hours of fun. I can totally see little people and big people getting lost in this lovely book. My daughter would love this book. Thanks for sharing. 🌼💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This title is new to me & it looks great. I just finished “Blood, Water, Paint”, a story of an earlier woman artist who has been recognized as genius, but struggled mightily as a woman. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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