The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell

Joey Cornell collected everything…anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. ‘If I like it I keep it.’ Joey always said (The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell, 2018).

Part of why I love blogging and reviewing children’s books is the learning process of learning about new people. When I received this book in the mail from Penguin, I was immediately fascinated with the story. My children and I read it together and then began looking through the various exhibits and creations that Joey Cornell has created in his many years as an artist.

The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Gerard DuBois tells the unique and interesting life of Joey Cornell. As a young boy, he was fascinated with collecting items and began creative artistic collections from a young age. I loved that his mother always encouraged his creativity and even helped him find additional items for his collections. She might have found it strange, but she also thought it was “wonderful.” I have a true appreciation for individuals who are “outside of the box”. Joey Cornell was definitely one of these artists that thought about art in different ways. He began collecting various items such as odd shaped pebbles and butterfly wings. When he was a young boy, his father died of leukemia and his family was very sad for a long time. Joey found comfort in his collections and used this to inspire him and others. His art was also very unique because he was inspired by every day objects and how they related to each other. He would create art by combining items in a box and then displaying them.

As a speech language pathologist, I was interested in Joey’s life because of his brother, Robert who had Cerebral Palsy. Joey dedicated himself to helping his brother and even started a foundation in his brother’s honor called The Joseph and Robert Memorial Cornell Memorial Foundation.

To learn more about Joey Cornell, his life and his artwork, click here.

Carryover activity: Go on a scavenger hunt for everyday items that feel interesting to you and  your child. An old coin? an old ticket from a show you attended? When you have your items collected, place them in a glass box and glue or tape them in place. If you don’t have a glass box, use a clear container left from packing material. If you can’t find anything clear, use a shoe box for your art exhibit. I love art because there is no right or wrong. Your creations and your art is unique and shouldn’t be judged in any way.


The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell: Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist

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