Featured books by Brian Pinkney

Max Found Two Sticks

By: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Max recreates the city rhythms all around him with his two sticks. His imaginative play reaches a climax when a real marching band comes down his street and a drummer gives him a pair of drumsticks. Pinkney’s animated scratchboard illustrations further enliven the text.

The Adventures of Sparrowboy

By: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

Mild-mannered paperboy Henry collides with a sparrow and turns into Sparrowboy just like his hero, Falconman – a superhero who not only delivers the paper but also helps out the neighborhood. When Henry returns from his comic-strip fantasy, things seem just a bit better than before.

Books illustrated by Brian Pinkney

A Hole is to Dig: A First Book of Definitions

By: Judi Barrett
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
Genre: Fiction

The author's merry text and Sendak's bouncing illustrations provide young readers with a host of "first" definitions that explain everything from faces to books.

Bill Pickett: Rodeo-Ridin Cowboy

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Myths and Legends

The most celebrated black cowboy was Bill Pickett, a fearless rodeo star with a knack for taming bulls that brought the crowds to their feet. The closing note in this book provides an overview of the history of rodeos and black cowboys.

Busy-Busy Little Chick

By: Janice Harrington
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

Little Chick is not distracted like his mother, Mama Nsoso. He only chases tasty treats after their ilome, a warm new home of grass and mud, for his family is complete. This lively telling based on a fable told by Nkundo people of Central Africa is illustrated with swirling, animated illustrations, complementing the alliterative, onomatopoeic language.

Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend and Tall Tale

By: Robert San Souci
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Myths and Legends

From the Northeast to the West, the United States is filled with stories of wise, strong, and just plain amazing women. American tall tales about resilient women from many backgrounds are presented in the text of this book and depicted by the robust lines of scratchboard illustration.

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Jazz great Duke Ellington comes alive in jaunty, jazzy text and scratchboard illustrations that swirl, twirl and move across the pages. The reader can almost hear The Duke’s music in the vibrant colors of this Caldecott Honor book.

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

From her early days in Harlem to becoming the First Lady of Jazz, the story of Ella Fitzgerald is presented by a cool feline named Scat Cat Monroe. As Scat Cat steals through the pages of this book, Ella Fitzgerald’s life and work are revealed in jazz-inspired language accompanied by dramatic scratchboard illustrations. The result is a lively and loving picture book biography.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King

By: Jean Marzollo
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

The significance and impact of Dr. King and why his birthday is celebrated is presented in a handsome package. Fluid text combines with stunning illustrations done in scratchboard and paint, to make a sometimes difficult subject accessible to younger children. Also available in Spanish.

Hip-Hop Lollipop

By: Susan Montanari
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
Genre: Fiction

Jaunty words swirl and whirl along with vivacious illustrations across the pages as readers watch a little girl named Lollipop dance and play. Her parents and even her pets are tired as Lollipop ultimately slows down for bed, “Dreaming hip-hop!” 

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry

The final months of King’s life are presented in rich, moving poetry accompanied by swirling, evocative paintings. The requiem wonders about King’s assassin in “Baby James” asking, “”Did his tiny soul,/once clean,/know it would someday/be soiled by hate?” Additional information and photographs conclude this sophisticated volume.

Mirandy and Brother Wind

By: Patricia McKissack
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction

Mirandy wants to win the cakewalk dance but to do so, can she capture Brother Wind? Inspired by a family photograph, the author and illustrator richly imagine a time past and what a clever girl can achieve. Realistic watercolor illustrations increase the story’s sense of time, place, and its drama.

Pretty Brown Face

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Who is that beautiful face in the mirror? Why it is baby, held by a loving daddy. This simple yet appealing book is presented in a format appropriate for the youngest reader to hold.

Seven Candles for Kwanzaa

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction

Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa comfortably explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired four students to protest in a way that ultimately changed the United States. Their peaceful dissent at the segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, would "combine black with white to make sweet justice." The "Greensboro Four" began their sit-in on February 1, 1960 and contributed to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The text suggests storytelling and is accompanied by light-lined but evocative illustrations; back matter completes this compelling portrait.

Sleeping Cutie

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
Genre: Fiction

Cutie LaRue is normally a very agreeable child. But at bedtime she becomes downright defiant. As hard as her parents try to make Cutie sleepy, well, nothing works. But a talking doll named Night Owl may just hold the key to the Dreamland Nightclub where Cutie can dance, play music, and dream happily all night long! The talented husband/wife team of Andrea and Brian Pinkney have collaborated again to present this jaunty, imaginative nighttime tale.

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Lively language and energetic illustrations create a memorable portrait of a woman who was to become known as Sojourner Truth. She was "Big. Black. Beautiful. True." Just like her name. Further information and photographs of Sojourner Truth completes this dynamic, fictionalized biography.

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems

By: Langston Hughes
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Poetry

The great American poet Langston Hughes chose the poems in this classic collection, originally published for young people in 1932.

The Faithful Friend

By: Robert San Souci
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Based on the lore of Martinique, two boys who have been raised as brothers risk taking on a reputed wizard when one falls in love with his daughter. Dark hued scratchboard illustrations extend the mysterious and emotional tone of the text in this Caldecott Honor book.

Wiley and the Hairy Man

By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

Wiley and his mama live near the swamp; together, they trick the scary ol' hairy man three times, getting rid of him forever. A traditional southern tale has been retold for newly independent readers but loses nothing of the original's energy and suspense.

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase