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Ashley Bryan is a black illustrator born in New York in 1923. He is famous for his rhythmic retelling of African folktales, AND his fantastic illustrations to match. He has received the Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award, and he is most famously known in my house for this book:
While he is not the author (because we know Louis Armstrong made this tune famous) his illustrations were a favorite of the cellist when he was in preschool. He loved looking at all of the vibrant colors while we read the book over and over again. He still remembers his teacher playing the music to go along with the book during their storytime.
What’s even better is that he still does dramatic reading and performing of his tales. What can top that?!
With all of the color and signature illustration style of Bryan, it’s easy to see why the cellist (Nathaniel) fell in love with his books as a little boy. I love that the bottom three are now following in his footsteps and reaching for his books more often, even if they inform me that they are “books for younger kids and not them, but they like the art.”
Having a childhood so full of books and words and images, I love that I see this happening for my children. I’m hoping just maybe I can see this wonderful artist during my time in Maine soon. How awesome would that be?!
From what I hear, he can often be found in his studio in Maine, and lets visitors come through. If you’re out that way, you may want to check him out!
~Make It A Fantastic Day!