James Van Der Zee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer. Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken -by a black man, - James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill -Bojangles- Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too. Everyone wanted fancy portraits by James Van Der Zee. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people.
Andrea J.Loney is an award-winning author of children’s picture books. After receiving an MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU, she ran away with a circus, then she joined the Walt Disney Company. Currently a computer science professor at LA Trade Technical College, she’s been a volunteer for We Need Diverse Books. She’s also a 2nd grade reader/coordinator/curriculum development specialist for ReadingToKids.org. Her works include TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE (Lee & Low Books 2017), BUNNYBEAR (Albert Whitman & Company 2017), and DOUBLE BASS BLUES (Random House Knopf October 2019).
Keith Mallett studied art at Hunter College in New York City. He was the in-house artist for Frontline Art Publishers for fifteen years. Keith’s work was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic breakthrough into major league baseball, has graced the cover of Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and has been featured in many movies and TV shows. He is the illustrator of Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee and How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz. www.keithmallett.com