(coming soon!)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Since last post, there have been more lovely reviews of the 25th Anniversary Edition of LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME, some soon to post.  Today I caught this one from the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, under the headline


"Young readers are invited to ponder the attributes of peacemakers and peacemaking — courage, defiance, compassion, conviction and imagination — in new picture books.
These titles wield poetry and prose, image and song in the name of peace and personal connection. ...
The 25th anniversary edition of “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” (ages 4 and older, 40 pages, Abrams Books for Young Readers, $19.95) pairs Maya Angelou’s poem about courage and fear with strong and daring paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Editor Sara Jane Boyers curated a conversation between Angelou and Basquiat, two black artists intimately familiar with overcoming obstacles and racial marginalization. This volume is a vibrant reminder, as relevant or more today, of the power of naming our fears and claiming triumph over them."

Thursday, February 8, 2018

OMGosh LIFE25 is OUT!!!!

Reviews rolling in, both in the States and abroad and  now, on the eve of ALA Midwinter (on of the biggest and most important of book fairs, American Library Association - I've given seminars there before!), LIFE25 is up at the Abrams Booth when ALA starts tomorrow!

and of course it is NOW Black History Month, a special time when we have the opportunity to understand, even more clearly, how so many artists and writers who have become American legends such as Dr. Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat had to struggle to make themselves seen and heard because of race.  We are in a better time now although ironically, a difficult time when tensions have again arisen.  Let's all work to ensure that we are all heard and not through the filter of something that defines us, yes, but NOT something that stops us.  That is the message not only of LIFE25 but should be for us all.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Life Doesn't Frighten Me: 25th Anni Edition


**More Reviews/Mentions Rolling In ...

Great mention in this weekend's Wall Street Journal
(this is behind a subscriber pay wall so I am posting it here just in text form.)

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s fierce, tumultuous paintings (see above) exude terrific power—and a measure of unexpected humor—when paired with Maya Angelou’s verse in the picture book “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” (Abrams, 40 pages, $19.95). First published in 1993, this arresting volume, edited by Sara Jane Boyers, uses a high-impact typeface to convey its message of defiance. “Shadows on the wall / Noises down the hall / Life / Doesn’t / Frighten / Me / at all,” writes Angelou (1928-2014). A skeletal man and dog splashed with red and orange paint, a monstrous bear-man, and other images by Basquiat (1960-88) express wild feelings and even terrors. We see two inchoate figures battle with boxing gloves, their teeth bared, and read: “Tough guys in a fight / All alone at night / Life doesn’t / Frighten me / At all.” It’s a refrain that children ages 6-10 may want to chant to themselves long after they’ve put down the book.

Life Doesn't Frighten Me: 25th Anni Edition


**More Reviews/Mentions Rolling In ...

Smithsonian Book Dragon (ShelfAwareness review)

a few more from the UK so far where AbramsChronicle has  book out a bit before major North American release

On the shelf - Mystery to Me Booksellers, Madison WI (thanx for great pic above!)
On the shelf - Caravanserail, UK

** For updates - check out 
Instagram - SaraJaneBoyersPhoto

Bookstores, museums, readers!  If you have LIFE25 on your shelf, in your hands, wrapped as a gift! send me your pics and I'll post them here or on the above sites!  sjboyers@sarajaneboyersbooks.com

Sunday, January 7, 2018

LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME (25th Anni Edition)!

9 January 2018!

Check or ask for the 25th Anniversary Edition at your **local indie bookstores or online at Amazon (pre-order now).  Out in just two days!!!!

LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME, published to acclaim 25 YEARS AGO and always in print, is being released 9 January 2018 in a new, updated 25th Anniversary Edition (LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME (TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)!!!!!  
LIFE is the first book I created and edited, pairing the expressive art of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the empowering l978 poem by Dr. Maya Angelou. In LIFE25, I am delighted to have been able to update these amazing artists' biographies and add an afterword and Abrams has honored LIFE by creating a new trim size and wrapped it in a very beautiful clothbound edition that honors its success while also appealing to not only youth but the many adults, graduating students and others to whom LIFE has meant so much.  Dr. Maya Angelou's so beautifully crafted and powerful words and Jean-Michel Basquiat's expressive art continue to inspire and give us strength and resolve.

Read more about LIFE25 on the Abrams Books site and on my LIFE25 FB page LIFE DOESNT FRIGHTEN ME - THE BOOK.  I'll be updating the FB page continually, including indie bookstores carrying LIFE25 and events being planned.  On the FB page, read the "About" to understand why I created this wonderful book and what it has meant already to so many.

NOW, delighted to share here the first review, published on Shelf Awareness by reviewer Terry Hong, resident blogger, among many other activities, for the Smithsonian. Asian Pacific American Center's BOOK DRAGON.  http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=3156#m38936

AND ... a lovely honor: the first author invited to share a bit about writing process on Anastasia Suen's popular blog site for her new Sunday Guest Post Series, published today!

Oh and BTW, here are just some of the awards and reviews of the original LIFE, published in 1993.  With LIFE25, the impact, basic design and wonder remains!

Below, just two pages from LIFE25 ...  Let me know what you think and pass it on!

Thank you to all my readers and others who have always made me aware of what LIFE meant to them.  It has inspired me to continue writing (and photographing) so that I can share with all of you the individuals, the places, the ideas of where we live, work, and create.

**If you have a special 
Indie bookstore (always my favorite!) that is carrying LIFE25, let me know and I'll list it here!  I already know that in Detroit, my favorite second city (the one of my birth), Source Booksellers and Eric's I've Been Framed had always carried the original LIFE and will NOW have LIFE25!

Thursday, October 12, 2017


It's official: The release date of LIFE DOESNT FRIGHTEN ME (Twenty Fifth Anniversary Edition) is set for JANUARY 9, 2018.

Beloved by so many children and adults and still in print, this classic has been refreshed with updated graphics, updated biographies of both of these icons of American creativity, Dr. Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat plus an afterword by me as to why I created this book, and new resources to check out the work of both of the poet and artist.

So excited by this.

There will be more to come but know at present that I am hoping to be out and about with the book, for book signings and some events, at the least in February, Black History Month and beyond.  We were delighted to be so generously advised by Caged Bird Legacy, the Estate of Dr. Angelou, that there will be events surrounding what would have been her 90th (!) birthday this coming April 2018.  BTW, April is also Poetry Month, so fitting for this powerful poet.  What a gift to all of us she has been.

Just before her death, Dr. Angleou recorded several of her writings, including LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME and we are so happy to be able to hear it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6yAhMOnMpM

As well, there is great new publicity for Jean-Michel Basquiat, always contemporary, involving his current exhibition in London at the Barbican, a new documentary focusing on his teen years and then, next year an exhibition, again in Europe, at the startling and vital Foundation Vuitton in Paris, an awe-inspiring museum designed by our own Los Angeles architectural genius, Frank Gehry.

We - Abrams Books, myself the creator/editor of LIFE, Caged Bird Legacy - the powerful presence today of the Estate of Maya Angelou - and those so involved in continuing the focus of one of the great artists of the 20th Century, Jean-Michel Basquiat - are so proud that we can bring this book out to all you new readers and those that have known it as a classic for so long.

More to come!!!

If you would like to know where I will be, especially in February, email me and/or check into this blogger post!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Readying for SCBWI

Guess I might call myself again an author!

It is Summer 2018 and while continuing heavily with photography, I am about to join fellow authors and illustrators, many old friends and hopefully many new, at the annual Society of Children's Book Writers And Illustrators (SCBWI) conference here in Los Angeles.  It's time to recommence working on my craft.

And this with news:

LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME: Still in print after its release to acclaim in 1993, my pairing of the expressive artwork of the late artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat with a 1978 poem by one of our American idols, Maya Angelou is about to be re-marketed by Abrams Books for Young Readers in a 25th Anniversary Edition, to be released next January 2018.

In this edition, I have the privilege of writing and adding an afterword, updating the biographies and resource materials and helping create a new look for this classic.  Here is the proposed cover!


My friend, Tyrus Wong, died at the end of last year 2016 at the venerable age of 106.  I last photographed him out at Southern California's Santa Monica Beach last summer when he was 105.

At his death, his life was celebrated worldwide, including the front page of the New York Times with my photographic portrait of him, and in the documentary by filmmaker Pamela Tom, set to broadcast  on PBS American Masters on 8 September this year.  

The major retrospective of Tyrus' artwork, including his early drawings for Walt Disney's Bambi was held at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco in 2013 and again at the Museum of Chinese in America in NYC.  In both exhibitions, I was asked to create the photographic "story" of Tyrus and his kites.    A small version of that exhibition - many of the kites and my photographs - is now on view in Malibu, CA at their City Hall through the end of July.

I am so pleased to announce that I am working on a book for youth on Tyrus' 40+ years after he retired  and learning how to make and fly his artistic kites!  I had created a promo book about them as part of my photographic project process (can be seen online at https://issuu.com/sarajaneboyersphoto/docs/sjboyers_goflyakite_1)  and now, it seems time to share the work and Tyrus' amazing life with young readers.  Look soon for further news!!!!!


 Much of the work I hope to do now revolves around my favorite format: illustrated picture books.  Presently my goal is to write and photo-illustrate. With major interest and investment in the arts  throughout my life, it feels that this is where I fit.

I hope some of you, former readers and new ones, will join me in this exploration. Whether for youth or, as in the case of my two long-term photo projects - FINDING CHINATOWN: AN AMERICAN STORY and DETROIT:DEFINITION - that I am merging as well into books (and of course, exhibition), there are always stories to present for a variety of ages. 

It is good to be back.


A written essay by me, " .... No, It's Not the East," will be published this summer by Belt Publishing in their DETROIT NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDEBOOK.

An article on a house designed by the respected mid-century California-based architect, Pierre Koenig, and featuring my photography was just published in the Summer2017 issue of MODERN MAGAZINE, to be online soon but now on the racks!