Aminah's World

written by Carole Miller Genshaft

illustrated by Aminah Robinson

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mixed media
Big Ideas:
Artist Biography
Essential Questions:
How can you remember, document, and
honor the past through art? How can you honor your community through art?
Meet Artist: Aminah Robinson 

We think it's important to talk with children about the illustrations in a picture book as well as the illustrator's process! Aminah Robinson coined the term RagGonNon - a piece of art that goes on and on. RagGonNon is made with many different materials (buttons, scraps of fabric, neckties, metal trinkets, keys) and has various layers of meaning. She believed that a RagGonNon is never truly finished, because each person who views the work has something special to add to it. 

Take time to explore Ms. Robinson's artwork and ask children about her process:

  • How would you describe her style of artwork?

  • At the core of Aminah's art is her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, which means "learning from the past in order to move forward." What do you think this means? How is this idea reflected in her artwork?

  • Ms. Robinson often did some research before creating her art. She went to the library, used maps and city directories, and listened to stories from her elders. Then she'd create"Memory Maps" of her neighborhood. How do you think this research impacted her and her art?

  • Aminah loved to use found objects (bits and baubles) in her art. What types of ordinary objects did Aminah use in her work? Where do you think these objects came from?

  • How does her art make you feel? Does it remind you of anything in your own life?

  • Ms. Robinson worked with many different mediums including sculpture, rag paintings, collage, needlework, and drawing. Which of her work do you like the most? Which medium most appeals to you as an artist?

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Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

Guinea Village in Belmont County
21"x 55.5" mixed media on paper

Try this Process Art Experience 




: a technique for expressing

ideas in which several

media are employed


The Dictionary, 

Set up the Creative Space

  • Aminah's World by Carole Miller Genshaft

  • Blank canvas (envelope, paper, canvas, burlap, paper mesh)

  • Fabric scraps

  • Paper scraps (tissue paper, napkins, newspaper) 

  • Yarn, embroidery thread, ribbo

  • Buttons and other found objects like metal trinkets, beads, stamps, old keys and bottle caps 

  • Embroidery Needles

  • Tempera paint sticks (we love Kwik Stix) or watercolor

  • Glue

  • Scissors


Language to Cultivate Creativity and Promote Deeper Thinking 

What do you like most

about your artwork?

Tell me more about ... 

How did you create this piece?

Walk me through your process.


 How are you feeling about your work?


I wonder what might happen if ... ?

I notice that you are making very thoughtful choices.

I see that you are working slowly/carefully on this part.

What are you most proud of?

What was the trickiest part for you?

I wonder what you will do next?

How do you define community?

What is something in your community that is important or special to you? 

How could you research the history of your own community?

What resources could you use?

If you were to create a piece of art to reflect upon and honor your community, what might it look like?


 What do you like to do with your family? How could you document this through art?


If you could interview a grandparent about your family history, what are three questions you would ask him/her?

How important do you think it is to pass on your family's history?

What inspires you?

More Books to Spark Your Journey 

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Tar Beach

by Faith Ringgold 

Also Illustrated by Aminah Robinson

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Photo Gallery

Share your ideas with us on social media using the hashtag #wondermentart 

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