Photo courtesy of Alazar Press
Eric Carle. Shel Silverstein. Dr. Seuss. All children's authors and illustrators who have had a major impact on the literary genre through their beloved stories.
Add to that list Ashley Bryan, 88, a celebrated artist and storyteller who will receive the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Library Association this June.
Bryan grew up in the Bronx and became the first African-American to both write and illustrate a children’s book in 1962. After a successful teaching career at Queen's College, Lafayette College and Dartmouth College, Bryan left academia in the 1980s to pursue his artwork.
Bryan has won many awards for his children's books, most of which are retellings of traditional African folktales and collections of songs and spirituals drawn from the African-American experience. He was named a New York Public Library Literary Lion in 2008 and receiving the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature in 2009.
Bryan will spend four days in the Triangle from April 20-23 to promote new editions of his books Walk Together Children and I'm Going To Sing, originally published in 1974 and 1982, respectively.
There are several opportunities for you to meet Bryan in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area:
- Fri. April 20 at 7pm - Flyleaf Books
- Sat. April 21 at 10am - Hargraves Community Center
- Sun. April 22 at 7:30pm - Binkley Memorial Baptist Church
- Mon. April 23 at 3pm - The ArtsCenter
In addition, you can see Bryan's national traveling exhibit of children's illustrations entitled Rhythms of the Heart: The Illustration of Ashley Bryan on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh from April 15-Aug.19. A free Spring Family Festival takes place at the museum on Sun. April 22 at 1pm to celebrate Bryan's works, with chances to participate in music making, art, dancing and singing workshops. Bryan will make a special appearance at 3pm in the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr. Theater in the Museum Park.
For a complete list of events, click here.