Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordon
Ballet For Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, 2010
Illustrated by Brian Floca
Action Jackson, 2008
Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through The Gates and Beyond, 2008
Runaway Girl: The Artist Louise Bourgeois, 2003
Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist, 2001
Frank O. Gehry, Outside In, 2000
Chuck Close, Up Close, 1998
The American Eye: Eleven Artists of the Twentieth Century, 1995
The Sculptor’s Eye: Looking at American Art, 1993
The Painter’s Eye: Learning to Look at Contemporary American Art, 1991
Our books have to do with passion for the arts, collaboration, and the creative process.
We met in 1978 when Jan submitted the manuscript for her first children’s novel, A Season In Between, to Farrar, Straus & Giroux where Sandra was then Editor-in-Chief of Children’s Books. More than ten years of friendship later we hatched the idea for The Painter’s Eye and decided to focus on postwar American art. Not only was this topic a gap in the bookshelf (every nonfiction writer’s dream), but also we could talk to living artists about subjects we thought would interest young readers.
Our tenth book, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, began with a trip to the awesome Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City to see an exhibit of Noguchi’s stage sets. The famed sculptor did 37 set designs for dance and theater. More than twenty of them were for Martha Graham. Our conversations kept leading us back to his set for Appalachian Spring and the collaboration between Noguchi, Martha Graham (dance), and Aaron Copeland (music). The piles of biographies on our desks grew higher. And, of course, we interviewed dancers, musicians, and conductors for insights into this American classic. Since we are collaborators, we were curious about how Martha worked with her troupe, as well as with Aaron, the composer, and with Isamu, the sculptor. And the love story of the young farmer and his bride, who celebrate their wedding day and the completion of their new home in Appalachian Spring, is very compelling. The dance captures the energy of the pioneer spirit, of America in its early days.
We live in different places and have very different lives, but we love getting together for a new project. We’ve continued to ask snoopy questions throughout the years we’ve worked together.