Shapiro, J. H. 2011. MAGIC TRASH: A STORY OF TYREE GUYTON AND HIS ART. Ill. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580893855 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-5]
This biographical picture book tells the story of Tyree Guyton, founder of the East Side Detroit Heidelberg Project. As a young boy with numerous brothers and sisters but few toys with which to play, Tyree began collecting eclectic cast-offs: bicycle wheels, popsicle sticks, old baseball caps, and more. He would then transform others’ garbage into imaginative designs.
Much to his mother’s chagrin, Tyree’s grandfather recognized his talent and encouraged Tyree to become an artist. As an adult, Tyree tried his hand at various professions, but his beloved Heidelberg Street home would not allow the artist in him to rest. Upon paying a visit to his mother, Tyree found the inspiration to transform his dilapidated and neglected neighborhood from trash into art.
This inspiring story will encourage children to pursue their dreams in the face of challenges and will serve to remind adults of the power of community. Shapiro’s text with rhythmic three-line stanzas interspersed throughout is accompanied by colorful mixed media illustrations which mimic the art of the Heidelberg Project.
Encourage students to visit the Heidelberg Project website http://www.heidelberg.org/ and review the images and videos of Guyton’s art. Guyton used art to transform his environment and his neighbors’ image of their worth. Allow students to brainstorm ideas for how they might use their own talents to transform their community.
Other books for children about affecting change:
Aston, Dianna Hutts. DREAM SOMETHING BIG: THE STORY OF THE WATTS TOWER. Ill. by Susan L. Roth ISBN 0803732457
DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne. CITY GREEN. ISBN 068812786X
Sundem, Garth. REAL KIDS, REAL STORIES, REAL CHANGE: COURAGEOUS ACTIONS AROUND THE WORLD. ISBN 1575423502
By Maria Cahill