The most recent book by English professor Marina Budhos, "Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism," co-authored with husband Marc Aronson, is a finalist for the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. In addition, the title is included in eight “Best of 2017” lists: The Washington Post, The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Tablet magazine, and Chicago and Denver Public Libraries.
The book follows Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, young refugees and pioneers of photojournalism, who documented the savagery of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. In capturing the struggle against fascism, Capa and Taro’s body of work – much of which is reprinted in the lavishly illustrated Budhos/Aronson book – reflects the evolution of photography as a journalistic medium.
Released in March 2017, the book is meant both for young adults and an older audience, Budhos says, citing “amazing response” at press events geared toward adults, including the Museum for Jewish Heritage, Instituto Cervantes, and the International Center for Photography.
Given the Common Core curriculum in New Jersey’s public schools, which requires students to read more nonfiction, Budhos hopes her recent book will eventually be integrated in the classroom. “I truly hope younger people will be inspired,” she explains.
“This book, I have to say, I just loved writing. I got to delve into these photographs and piece together the story of this man and woman. I fell in love with both of them in writing it,” Budhos explains. “If someone told me I had to work on this for a few more years, I wouldn’t mind because I fell in love with the world so much.”
In order to write the book, Budhos and Aronson – a historian – spent a summer in Spain speaking to experts and exploring some of the photographed sites. They spent another summer researching in the archives of the International Center for Photography, and a third summer was dedicated to writing. As artistic collaborators themselves, the authors were particularly intrigued by the collaboration of Capa and Taro.
Budhos and her husband previously teamed up to write a non-fiction book that chronicled 5,000 years of sugar, titled “Sugar Changed the World”— also nominated for a YALSA Award as well as the L.A. Times Book Review Young Adult Literature Prize. Last year, Budhos’s fiction novel “Watched” was named a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book and an Asian/Pacific American Literature YA Honor.
“I think it’s a blend between honing your craft and listening to what people respond to,” the professor says of her recent success. “Marrying that to what you are passionate about, and what only you can write, for me, has always been key.”
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