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Children's Fiction Bullying

The Artist and Me

by (author) Shane Peacock

illustrated by Sophie Casson

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
Bullying, Art & Architecture, Peer Pressure, European
Recommended Age
5 to 9
Recommended Grade
k to 4
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Discussion Guide

Download Student Activity

Where to buy it


Vincent van Gogh is now known as an acclaimed, incomparable Post-impressionist painter. But when he lived in Arles, France, in the 1880s, he was mocked for being different. Back then, van Gogh was an eccentric man with wild red hair who used clashing hues to paint unusual-looking people and strange starry skies. Children and adults alike called him names and laughed at him. Nobody bought his art. But he kept painting.

Inspired by these events, The Artist and Me is the fictional confession of one of van Gogh’s bullies — a young boy who adopted the popular attitude of adults around him. It’s not until the boy faces his victim alone that he realizes there is more than one way to see the world.

Artwork in the book uses vibrant color and texture to bring the laneways, cafés, and wheat fields of southern France to life while playing on scenes from van Gogh’s own work. The lyrical text carries the emotional weight of the subject and will leave readers with the understanding that everyone’s point of view is valuable.

About the authors

Shane Peacock is a novelist, playwright, journalist, and television screenwriter. His first book was a biography of the spectacular Canadian personality “The Great Farini,” his plays have been produced by the acclaimed 4th Line Theatre, and his documentaries have included Team Spirit, aired on the CTV national network. His best-selling series for young adults, The Boy Sherlock Holmes, has been published in ten countries in twelve languages and has found its way onto more than forty shortlists. It won, among other honors, the prestigious Violet Downey Award, The Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction, the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medal, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and The Libris Award. Each novel was also named a Junior Library Guild of America Premier Selection. The Ottawa Citizen said of the series, “More than just right, dazzlingly right for teen readers, is a new series by Ontario writer Shane Peacock. The vitality of Peacock’s creation of Sherlock is so inspired it feels like the writer is possessed, channeling Sherlock’s spirit.”

Shane Peacock's profile page

SOPHIE CASSON has illustrated The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock, a finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Quelle pagaille! by Danielle Marcotte and Laurence-Aurélie Théroux-Marcotte, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, and Helen’s Birds by Sara Cassidy. Her highly acclaimed illustrations are inspired by Japanese woodblock prints and World War II–era posters. Sophie’s award-winning work has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Nature, as well as in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Sophie lives in Montreal, Quebec.


Sophie Casson's profile page


  • Short-listed, Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2016
  • Short-listed, Nominated for the 2017 Blue Spruce Award
  • Short-listed, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Finalist
  • Short-listed, Clark County School District "Each One, Read One" book selection
  • Commended, A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Unknown, Nominated for Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
  • Unknown, One of School Library Journal's Most Anticipated Titles for Spring 2016
  • Unknown, US National Gallery of Art suggested reading
  • Unknown, Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award 2015-16
  • Unknown, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"An obvious complement to art curricula, this book could also reinforce anti-bullying discussions at home and in the classroom."

The National Reading Campaign

"Beautifully and sparsely written, as well as vividly illustrated... makes its point quite eloquently."

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

"This beautifully illustrated picture book, easily read by beginning readers...illustrates how children are taught prejudice by their elders. This is a timely concept in today's world."

The Quaker Friends Journal

"A real-life context for the effects of bullying, which will spark interest and encourage discussion."


"Forthright and self-aware...about the battle between authenticity and conformity, integrity and capitulation--so much a part of growing up."

The Horn Book

"Low-key yet powerful...simple, resonant, superb."

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Poignant... a story about deceptive appearances."

Publishers Weekly

"Sincere thanks must go to the authors, illustrators and their publishers for providing children with the opportunity to be inspired by these legendary individuals through such fine publications."

Canadian Children's Book News, joint review

"Delivers a meaningful message about individuality and tolerance."

School Library Journal

"Evocative...a useful classroom resource."

Canadian Review of Materials

"Would be an excellent read aloud in an art class to kick off a lesson about Vincent van Gogh or in a regular classroom during a morning meeting about bullies and treating others as you would like to be treated. Recommended."

School Library Connection

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