2019 Miami Book Fair Poster

by Kadir Nelson


Kadir Nelson began drawing at the age of three, displaying artistic acumen before he could write or spell. At age eleven, Kadir Nelson was apprenticed by his uncle Michael Morris, an artist and art instructor. Nelson experimented with several different media and later began painting in oils at the age of sixteen under the encouragement and tutelage of both his uncle and high school art teacher. He began entering his paintings in art competitions and ultimately won an art scholarship to study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Upon graduating with honors, Nelson began his professional career as an artist, publishing his work and receiving commissions from publishers and production studios such as Dreamworks, Sports Illustrated, Coca-Cola, The New York Times and Major League Baseball, among others. Nelson’s striking painting of the late Nelson Mandela was featured on the cover of the New Yorkermagazine. Nelson has also authored and illustrated several award-winning New York Times Best-Selling picture books including, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. Nelson states, “I feel that art’s highest function is that of a mirror, reflecting the innermost beauty and divinity of the human spirit; and is most effective when it calls the viewer to remember one’s highest self.”