Nature is an Artist | Jennifer Lavalle


Nature is an Artist written by Jennifer Lavalle and Illustrated by Natalia Colombo

Out now from Greystone Kids; 30 pages

About the author: “My name is Jen. I’m from the Canadian prairies, where I live with my busy family of five and a wiener dog named Larry. I love to read and craft, and, of course, write. It’s nice to meet you!

I absolutely love children’s literature. I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve never lost my affection for kids’ books; in fact, I think “kids’ books” are perfect for all ages to enjoy! What other stories bring such a sense of wonder and magic? (And don’t get me started with the illustrations)” (Bio taken from author’s website).

Find Jennifer Lavalle on the following platforms:

About the Illustrator: “Natalia Colombo, an illustrator and graphic designer, studied graphic design at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and has illustrated picture books published in ten countries. Her book Cerca was awarded the first International Compostela Prize by the Department of Education of the City Council of Santiago and Kalandraka.” (Bio taken from Goodreads)

Find Natalia Colombo on the following platforms:

“We can all be artists.
Nature shows us how.
So many styles to choose from–
Let’s get started now.”

Nature, as a gentle green being, guides a diverse group of children through various landscapes in order to reveal the art all around them in Jennifer Lavalle’s debut picture book Nature is an Artist. Illustrator Natalia Colombo brings Lavalle’s words and the environment to life with brilliant color, and contrasting textures that jump off the page. We see the group of children begin their journey exploring examples of artistic creation found in hills, rivers, and forests. Along the way, their friend Nature shows them how to use mediums like paint, collage, and sculpture to express their own works of art, similar to its own. At the end of the day, the children settle down to bask in their newfound knowledge about community, the enjoyment of creativity, and the ever present influence of Nature. 

This book took me back to fingerpainting in mud puddles, and rubbing dandelions on concrete like chalk. Lavalle and Colombo’s work pays homage to our earliest outdoor experiences and solidifies the harmonious connection between children and nature— a lifelong friendship that encourages interconnectedness, community and reciprocity. I feel this partnership between the book’s rhythmic poetry and illustration’s use of color, texture and whimsy is, in itself, a further dedication to this harmony. Each page invites you in and asks you to play like a neighborhood friend. In a world that urges us to grow up quickly, this book reminded me that there’s still a child in us all who yearns to slow down, listen, and create. Readers are encouraged that they can look for inspiration in the flora and fauna around them, too! However, if you find yourself coming up short, fear not– there are plenty of fun suggestions within Nature is an Artist to get started with.

This book will not only have readers running to recreate and invent artworks of their own, but most importantly, they will be eager to share experiences with each other and the nature around them. 

PRR Writer, Megan Milton