Wolf, Bernard 1930–

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Wolf, Bernard 1930–

PERSONAL: Born 1930, in New York, NY.

ADDRESSES: Office—Bernard Wolf Photography, 240 E. 27th St., New York, NY 10016. E-mail[email protected]

AWARDS, HONORS: Notable Children's Trade Book citation, National Council for Social Studies/Children's Book Council, 1978, for Adam Smith Goes to School;. American Library Association honr, 1991, for books on the handicapped.

WRITINGS:

JUVENILE; AND PHOTOGRAPHER

The Little Weaver of Agato: A Visit with an Indian Boy Living in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, Cowles Book Company (New York, NY), 1969.

Jamaica Boy, Cowles Book Company (New York, NY), 1971.

Daniel and the Whale Hunters: The Adventures of a Portuguese Boy in a Whaling Town in the Azores, Random House (New York, NY), 1972.

Tinker and the Medicine Men: The Story of a Navajo Boy of Monument Valley, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.

Don't Feel Sorry for Paul, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1974.

Connie's New Eyes, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1976.

Anna's Silent World, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1977.

In This Proud Land: The Story of a Mexican-American Family, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1978.

Adam Smith Goes to School, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1978.

Michael and the Dentist, Four Winds Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Firehouse, Morrow (New York, NY), 1983.

Cowboy, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

Amazing Grace: Smith Island and the Chesapeake Watermen, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

In the Year of the Tiger, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1988.

Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Homeless, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1995.

HIV Positive, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 1997.

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Cuba: After the Revolution, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Travel and Camera, House Beautiful, Fortune, and Camera 35.

SIDELIGHTS: Photographer Bernard Wolf has written and illustrated books for children, many of which introduce young readers to new cultures or ways of life. In such books as The Little Weaver of Agato: A Visit with an Indian Boy Living in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, Jamaica Boy, and Tinker and the Medicine Men: The Story of a Navajo Boy of Monument Valley, Wolf presents a view into the daily lives of children in traditional societies. Other books, such as Don't Feel Sorry for Paul, Connie's New Eyes, and Anna's Silent World, describe the lives of children who live with physical disabilities.

In recent years, Wolf has confronted more controversial topics, such as homelessness and the AIDS epidemic. His Homeless received enthusiastic reviews in Booklist and in Horn Book, where contributor Ellen Fader praised the book's sympathetic but unpatronizing tone. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly, however, felt that the book fails to explain some basic issues relating to homelessness, such as temporary housing and public-assistance benefits. HIV Positive, which follows a twenty-nine-year-old mother with full-blown AIDS as she goes about her life and cares for her children, earned much critical admiration. Stephanie Zvirin in Booklist noted that Wolf avoids sentimentalizing his subject and steers clear of any political slant, creating a book Zvirin hailed as a "real achievement that brings the tragedy home full force." A contributor to Publishers Weekly found Wolf's editorializing to be a small flaw in the book, but added that its "cumulative effect … is potent and bittersweet."

Cuba: After the Revolution also received significant attention. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the book as a "complex portrait" of contemporary Cuban society and noted that Wolf's photographs are particularly effective in capturing the diversity of Havana's people and landscape. The writer added, however, that although Wolf shows the paradoxes of Cuban life, he does not adequately explain them. Randy Meyer in Booklist made a similar point, observing that while Wolf describes Cuba as a 'troubled island,' he avoids any discussion of politics. In Meyer's view, this evasion makes the book's optimistic message unclear.

Two of Wolf's titles address issues relating to religion. If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem "brings alive" the history of that holy city, according to Booklist critic Ilene Cooper. Cooper noted that Wolf chooses "details that will capture children's imaginations" and presents a "balanced" discussion of issues that have divided Jews, Christians, and Muslims—who all hold the city sacred. Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story focuses on the daily life of an Egyptian Muslim family now residing in New York City. Though the book takes a social rather than religious perspective, it does explain basic elements of Islamic practice, including mosque attendance on Fridays. In School Library Journal, Coop Renner praised Wolf's depictions of the family as individuals; this approach, Renner noted, emphasizes that "differences of religion do not signify differences in humane behavior, love of family, or appreciation for hard work." A writer for Kirkus Reviews observed that Wolf considers such problems as language, economic strain, and homesickness, but "with no mention prejudice or current politics." Nevertheless, the critic found the book insightful and informative.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale, p. 1346; February 15, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Homeless, p. 1088; March 15, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of HIV Positive, p. 1240; October 1, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, p. 341; September 1, 1999, Randy Meyer, review of Cuba: After the Revolution, p. 131; April 1, 2003, John Peters, review of Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story, p. 1395.

Horn Book, December, 1983, Kate M. Flanagan, review of Firehouse, p. 728; May-June, 1995, Ellen Fader, review of Homeless, p. 346; May-June, 2003, Roger Sutton, review of Coming to America, p. 372.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of Coming to America, p. 613.

Language Arts, March, 1987, Janet Hickman, review of Amazing Grace: Smith Island and the Chesapeake Watermen, p. 314.

New York Times, November 13, 1983, Sherwin D. Smith, review of Firehouse, p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, September 30, 1983, Jean F. Mercier, review of Firehouse, p. 115; December 12, 1986, review of Amazing Grace, p. 58; March 20, 1995, review of Homeless, p. 61; April 21, 1997, review of HIV Positive, p. 72; March 31, 2003, review of Coming to America, p. 64.

School Library Journal, November, 1983, Phyllis Sue Alpert, review of Firehouse, p. 84; April, 1985, Pat Harrington, review of Cowboy, p. 94; February, 1987, Don Reaber, review of Amazing Grace, p. 86; August, 1988, Mary Mueller, review of In the Year of the Tiger, p. 112; August, 1994, Lauren Mayer, review of Beneath the Stone, p. 153; August 9, 1999, review of Cuba, p. 354; May, 2003, Coop Renner, review of Coming to America, p. 143.

School Science and Mathematics, January, 1988, Charles E. Lamb, review of Cowboy, p. 76.

ONLINE

Bernard Wolf Home Page, http://www.bernardwolfphotography.com (September 23, 2005).