Gordon Parks

How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.

  • 32 Pages
  • 8" x 10"
  • 9780807530177
  • February 2015

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  • $16.99
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  • 9780807530184
  • May 2015

Other Places to Buy


  • Christoph’s spreads echo the pared narrative with a muted palette and modest styling, but their impact is powerful.

    - Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • Weatherford writes in the present tense with intensity, carefully choosing words that concisely evoke the man. Parks’ photography gave a powerful and memorable face to racism in America; this book gives him to young readers.

    - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • This is a promising vehicle for introducing young children to the power of photography as an agent for social change, and it may make them aware of contemporary victims of injustice in need of an advocate with a camera.

    - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • Created with a certain elegance of line, Christoph’s artwork includes many haunting, beautifully composed scenes.

    - Booklist

  • This effective overview is a solid addition for those looking to beef up their biography collections.

    - School Library Journal, starred review

Awards & Accolades

  • The Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit 2015
  • 2015 NAACP Image Award—Outstanding Literary Work, Children
  • New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2016—CBC/NCSS


Common Core

RI.3.1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10 RF.3.3,3c,3d,4,4a,4b,4c SL.3.1,1a,1b,1c,1d,2,3,4,5,6 L.3.1,1I,3,3a,4,4a,4d,5,5a,6 W.3.2,2a,2b,2a,2d,4,7,8,10


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 0.5
  • ATOS Level: 4