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. Christo and Jeanne-Claude:Through The Gates and Beyond is a recent collaboration. Jan’s other recent book is Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World (Abrams, 2008). Sandra wrote the text for Mr. and Mrs. Portly and Their Little Dog Snack, illustrated by Christine Davenier (FSG 2009).

From Something About the Author

Beginning in the 1990s Greenberg paired up with Sandra Jordan, and the two began to publish books in the field of art. The first, The Painter’s Eye: Learning to Look at Contemporary American Art, describes the basic elements of artistic composition amid a wealth of visual examples and interviews with artists, resulting in a work that a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed "an ingeniously choreographed duet of text and image" that aids young people in understanding the role of contemporary art and the significance of their response to it. A companion volume, The Sculptor’s Eye, was released two years later, its wealth of material “woven together with a clear and perceptive text,” according to Horn Book contributor Lolly Robinson. In American Eye: Eleven Artists of the Twentieth Century, Greenberg and Jordan present biographies of such major artists as Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keeffe, and describe the significance of several modern masterworks. Calling their examination one of “clarity and insight,” Horn Book reviewer Lolly Robinson added that the book's focus “is placed on understanding the artist as a person in order to begin to understand each artist's frame of reference for his or her work.”