Monday, April 13, 2009

Ashley Bryan

I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I first heard of Ashley Bryan just a few years ago, when I read his glorious Let It Shine. Even then, I didn't realize what an important figure he was in children's illustration. This profile of Bryan in Atlanta's Epoch-Times (which I suspect is only the tip of the iceberg) opened my eyes.
Though he was talented and passionately committed to becoming an illustrator, he was not published until he was in his forties. He was the first African American children’s book author and illustrator to be published, in 1962. . . . Now in his nineties, he just won a Laura Ingalls Wilder Lifetime Achievement Award. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award for children’s books three times. He is almost as famous for mentoring others as he is for his own work.
Wowie zowie.

His autobiography, Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song, was recently published by Athaneum, in picture-book form.

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