Western Washington University’s Children’s Literature Conference | Bellingham, WA

“From Fields of Cotton to the Sea of Tranquility.” by John Rocco

This is image is part of a series I am creating about civil rights during the space race.

Crown Books for Young Readers
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

5 thoughts on “John Rocco”

  1. Beautiful, beautiful and so moving. I love the contrast and the composition. So much is packed into this image to unpack. I’m going to share this with my students tomorrow!

    The clouds evoke Maxfield Parrish, who was my favorite painter when I was a teen. But looking at this made me realize that most of Parrish’s subjects were young white girls doing . . . nothing much. Talk about white privilege! This could be a terrific painting for a compare/contrast exercise with one of Parrish’s.

    (I’m also reminded of my favorite scene in the movie The Tuskegee Airmen where two of the Black pilots-in-training, due to a mechanical issue, have to land in a field right next to a Black chain gang and their white prison guards. The look of hope and pride in the eyes of some of the men on the chain gang, when they realize the airmen are Black, is some of the best acting in the whole movie — it always gets me all teary. I know this is different since the astronauts in the 60’s were all white, but it’s just what came to mind.)

  2. There is a place, to be sure, for the modern innovations of cartoon, collage, child-like drawing and flat, primitive compostions. But they predominate picture book art. This is refreshing to see the classic atributes of Illustration, mastery of anatomy, clouds, harmony of color from someone who can actually paint. There should be more room for Roccos and Wyeths.

  3. Yes “How We Got To The Moon” is exactly the kind of book our young readers need to fuel their fire for science and technology exploration . As far as the illustrations for your civil rights during the space race series they are beautifullly done and showcase the history during that time I can’t wait to read them someday.


Add to the conversation. Thanks for being kind and courteous.