The Bluest of Blues Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs
Fiona Robinson is such a unique and beautiful author and illustrator. To view her other books that she has written and illustrated, click here. I was excited to receive this beautiful book and review it for my readers today.
Who is Anna Atkins?
Anna Atkins (image from Wikipedia) was an English botanist and photographer. She was considered to be the first person to ever publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Fiona celebrates this iconic women through this book. She takes the reader from Anna as a child in 1807 and describes her relationship with her father and how that shaped her career as a photographer. From a young age Anna had an interest in plants and entomology (the scientific study of insects). Her father was determined to give her the best education in the world and teach her all of the sciences including chemistry, physics, zoology, botany, and biology.
When reading this book to your child, don’t rush through the content. Many people have the misconception that picture books can lack abstract and complex text. The Bluest of Blues can be read in one sitting but also enjoyed over multiple sittings. What I loved most about this book are the beautiful illustrations and writing that went hand in hand with each other. When reading this book, stop to define specific vocabulary that is pertinent to the story such as specimen, botanist, subjects, etc. There is so much to learn from reading this book, which makes it an ideal book for repeated readings! To learn more about repeated readings, click here.
Are you a teacher? Check out this lesson plan about Anna Atkins here.
Interview with Fiona
I am thrilled to include a short interview with Fiona. After reading this beautiful book, I had some questions about her inspiration in wanting to write about Anna Atkins. Thank you Fiona!
What inspired you to write about Anna Atkins?
Anna’s story was a gift! She’s a brilliant example of artist, scientist and treasure hunter. I’ve always admired people who devote their lives to the natural world and relay their knowledge to an audience. She was a pioneer of early photography, and so important for her beautiful, scientific work in a male dominated world. And, most importantly, I simply liked her, and liked how her kind father encouraged her.