About this book
JonArno Lawson • Natalie Nelson
When Holland is arrested for the thirty-seventh time for stealing beautiful things, he must make a very difficult decision. A police officer says that he must either go to jail or become a soldier. He chooses to join the army and is sent south, where he finds himself surrounded by beautiful things: palm trees, parrots, flowers and big blue waves…and fish!
Holland starts painting pictures of the fish, which he sells at the market on the weekend. Soon, he has money to send home to his parents. They are worried that he’s gone back to his stealing ways, so his father writes to ask if he earned the money honestly. Holland writes back to reassure him that he has decided to paint instead of steal because “not everything that’s pretty can be stuffed in your pockets!”
Based on a true story about JonArno Lawson’s uncle, and accompanied by Natalie Nelson’s collage illustrations, this quirky picture book is about making choices – and art.
About the Creators
JonArno Lawson’s internationally acclaimed picture book Sidewalk Flowers won the Governor General’s Literary Award and was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, among many other accolades. He is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Children’s Poetry and the author of numerous books for children and adults. JonArno lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.
Natalie Nelson’s illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She is the illustrator of The King of the Birds by Acree Graham Macam, which Booklist reviewed as “nothing short of charming.” She has also illustrated A Storytelling of Ravens by Kyle Lukoff, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Foreword, and Uncle Holland by JonArno Lawson, described by School Library Journal as “sophisticated yet playful.” Natalie lives in Atlanta.