Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem

Author: Golio, Gary

Publication Date:

January 2024



Age Group:


Original language and publisher

English | Calkins Creek

Territories Handled

World excl. Asia and North America

Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem

Author: Golio, Gary


With skillful use of line, light, and depth, Lewis transports readers and conveys the vision of an artist honoring the city he loves. Golio’s understated text makes judicious use of profound quotes from DeCarava himself on beauty and truth. Present-tense narration carries the energy of a vibrant neighborhood as seen through the attentive eyes of a brilliant visionary, while artistic details connote the period-specific portrait DeCarava drew of mid-20th-century Harlem. This memorable offering is one readers will return to for moments of inspiration. —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

In an image-centered picture book that summons the senses, the creators navigate Harlem through the lens of photographer Roy DeCarava (1919–2009)… DeCarava captures it all—and so too do Golio and Lewis—in this luminous tribute. —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “[A]n artful picture book that is a loving snapshot of photographer Roy DeCarava…Golio has penned an elegant ode to a notable photographer, filling his narrative with sensory details and enriching it with quotations from Roy himself. Lewis’s stunning watercolor art showcases the people and the neighborhood, offering a variety of perspectives to reflect the vision and work of DeCarava.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

Lewis gives a selection of DeCarava’s subjects, such as a close-up of a crushed can, longer views of Harlem street scenes, and an isolated figure in wedding whites, original treatments that focus more on atmosphere than documentation and so make suitable companions for Golio’s impressionistic profile… the author captures both his titular theme and his subject’s sensibility in well-chosen direct quotes, and along with adding a brief overview of DeCarava’s career, closes by urging readers to ‘look slowly,’ as he did, to discover ‘what you love where you live.’ —Booklist

A spare, poetic text emphasizes his love for the neighborhood where [DeCarava] grew up, which was the subject of his long, prolific career…watercolors create a fluid, dreamy world where DeCarava could quietly snap away while walking the streets of Harlem on a warm, sunny afternoon. The pictures portray a neighborhood in motion, oblivious to the artist who spent a lifetime reflecting the vibrancy of a place and people. —The Horn Book

“Veteran creators and collaborators Golio and Lewis (Dark Was the Night) spotlight the experience and perspective of Harlem artist Roy DeCarava. Known for his black-and-white photographs of scenes of everyday life, DeCarava said he showed ‘the strength, the wisdom, the dignity of the Negro people.’ Lewis’s watercolors play with light in an ode to that work… (and) are soft and light. Golio’s prose is swift… (and) each element of this book is beautiful and skillfully executed… (a) love letter to an incredible artist.”—School Library Journal

A child of the Harlem Renaissance and an artistic collaborator of Langston Hughes, Roy DeCarava is an unsung hero of Black history. Convinced that the lives of ordinary Black people deserved to be immortalized and documented in photos, Roy celebrated Black people through his art, a process that the incomparable author Gary Golio and illustrator E. B. Lewis capture in this beautiful picture book.

“Life is how you look at it.” And for Black photographer Roy DeCarava, life in his neighborhood was beautiful. Follow Roy through 1940s Harlem, as he takes out his camera, pops in a roll of film, and opens his eyes to the beauty all around him. There’s a little boy drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. SNAP! A young man at the bus stop with a baby in his arms. SNAP! Kids playing in an open fire hydrant. SNAP! Looking at them all, Roy sees beauty everywhere in Harlem, and so do the people who look at his photos.

This deeply researched picture book also includes additional information on DeCarava, a list of places to view his photos, a bibliography, and photos.

Marketing Information

  • A Kirkus Reviews Most Anticipated Book of 2024