Faith Ringgold is a painter, mixed-media sculptor, performance artist, professor, and the author and illustrator of books for children. She grew up in Harlem during the Great Depression, surrounded by a loving, nurturing family. Her father was a powerful storyteller, her mother taught her to sew, and her grandmother taught her to quilt—all of which she drew upon for her signature work.
For her first children’s book, Tar Beach (Crown), Ringgold created paintings and quilted borders to illustrate an allegorical tale she wrote about Cassie Louise Lightfoot, a young African American girl growing up in Harlem. The art was groundbreaking. Tar Beach was a Caldecott Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. It won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and a Parent’s Choice Gold Award. She followed it with two other titles about the same character: Cassie’s Word Quilt and Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky, which received the Jane Addams Picture Book Award (both Knopf).
With her distinct art and narrative voice, Ringgold has also created other children’s books. She offered a unique take on American history in Harlem Renaissance Party (Amistad) and in We Came to America and My Dream of Martin Luther King (both Knopf). She celebrated the contributions of Black women in Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House (Hyperion). And she combined fantasy and realism in The Invisible Princess (Crown) and Bonjour, Lonnie (Hyperion). For her creative vision and long-term dedication to children’s books, she received the 2022 Eric Carle Honors Award for an Artist