Youme Landowne (whose parents made her name up from the words “you” and “me”) is an artist and social justice and environmental activist with truly a global perspective. She grew up in Miami, Florida, and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, listening to stories, reading her way through libraries, building tree houses and making handmade books.
Youme’s work has taken her to Nairobi, Kenya, where she wrote and illustrated for Rainbow Magazine; to Kyoto, Japan, where she worked as a graphic artist; to Santiago de Cuba as a participant in Inter Nos, a collaborative mural project; and to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, collaborating with children to paint murals and document their stories through drawings and the written word. She became a professional community muralist working with Precita Eyes Mural Art Center in San Francisco, California and continued that work with Teachers & Writers Collaborative and Groundswell Mural Arts in New York City. Her commitment to story lines and illustration has also taken her to Swedru, Ghana, to work as an artist-in-residence with doctors, nurses and social workers, to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, St. John USVI as writer-in residence, and Pass Christian, Mississippi, with Making Art Everywhere. Youme was honored to join author Diana Cohn for the opportunity to visit and draw in Bhutan which resulted in their book Crane Boy.
Youme’s first children’s book is the award winning Selavi: A Haitian Story of Hope. Youme wrote and illustrated Selavi, a story based on real life children in Haiti. Selavi has received numerous awards. among them the Jane Addams Peace Award, the American Library Association Notable Book Award. Her second book Pitch Black (don’t be skerd) is a collaboration with Anthony Horton, an artist who lived and died (2012) in the subway tunnels of New York for twenty years. Pitch Black was chosen for the list American Library Association Top Ten Graphic Novels for the year it came out. Her third book Mali Under the Night Sky celebrates real life artist Malichansouk Kouanchao’s memories of escaping the violence of wars while holding in her heart and mind the beauty of her beloved homeland Lao P.D.R., its people and its culture.
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