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Featured books by Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan is a teller of tales in word and image. His lively use of language begs to be voiced — in music or through storytelling. Children from all backgrounds and of all ages are sure to delight when they meet tricksters and other misbehaving characters in the pages of these books. Adults and children alike will enjoy seeing favorite songs or learning about new ones in lively illustrations that swirl, dance, and exude joy on the pages of books by this award-winning author and illustrator.

All Night, All Day: A Child's First Book of African American Spirituals

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Jewel-toned watercolors adorn a collection of both well- and lesser-known spirituals, ideal for young voices. Musical arrangements for each are included in this handsome collection which won an award for its striking illustrations.

Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A range of poets introduce various aspects of African American history and culture. The alphabet is used as the device to introduce and organize the carefully selected poetry and stylized paintings to create an evocative whole.

Ashley Bryan's African Tales, Uh-huh

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tales drawn from the oral tradition are retold with verve and musical language certain to delight listeners of all ages. Bryan's paintings decorate each tale, bringing characters and plot vividly to life.

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Well-loved illustrator Bryan's pictures and recollections tell of his lifelong devotion to making and sharing art. His Antiguan-born parents sang, kept birds and sheltered orphans; they showed him how to resist convention and survive defeat. Drawing every day, as a soldier during WWII he kept his art supplies in his gas mask…Bryan honed his skills, overcame racism and discouragement, and thrived throughout 20th-century tumult. While the text forms a single narrative thread, the busy pages are laid out scrapbook-style on bright, overlapping rectangles of color, old family photos next to artwork next to call-outs of Bryan's words in large type." — Publisher's Weekly

Beautiful Blackbird

By: Ashley Bryan
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In a story of the Ila people of Zambia, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew." The story line is simple and the rhythmic chants of the flock frequently interspersed throughout the text add drama and a rapper's cadence to this award-winning book that is ready-made for participative storytelling.

Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Three well known spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," have been interpreted in vivid, jewel-toned illustrations and presented in a large format for a new generation. A bit of information about the songs' history as well as musical notation for each are included.

Poems and Folktales

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Have you ever wondered why there is thunder and lightning? Hear this Nigerian folktale and other tales (as well as original poems) retold and shared by a master storyteller, artist, and writer. Ashley Bryan's distinctive style and resonant voice echo the techniques of traditional griots.

Sing to the Sun

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Rhythmic, original poems combine lyrical, evocative language and gentle lessons in this attractively illustrated collection. Each original poem begs to be shared aloud and is sure to delight both reader and listener.

Books illustrated by Ashley Bryan

Beautiful Blackbird

By: Ashley Bryan
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In a story of the Ila people of Zambia, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew." The story line is simple and the rhythmic chants of the flock frequently interspersed throughout the text add drama and a rapper's cadence to this award-winning book that is ready-made for participative storytelling.

My America

By: Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Colorful illustrations by two award-winning artists decorate Gilchrist's short poem celebrating different aspects of America — which combine to make a rich, unified whole.

Nest Full of Stars

By: James Berry
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The poet celebrates growing up in the Caribbean, in Jamaica. Lively illustrations decorate the lively language used, including some dialect, in this evocative collection.

The Sun is So Quiet

By: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This collection offers children an introduction to poetry through rich imagery and vivid illustrations. The stream-of-consciousness style sticks to familiar childhood themes to keep children engaged.

What a Wonderful World

By: George David Weiss, Bob Thiele
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The song made famous by Louis Armstrong has been reinterpreted with brilliantly colored illustrations showing a multinational cast of children doing a puppet show. Though most young children will not recognize Armstrong, the optimism of the song is sure to please.

Why Leopard has Spots: Dan Stories from Liberia

By: Margaret Lippert, Won-Ldy Paye
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Have you ever wondered why the leopard has spots or why a spider has a big butt? This collection of six stories uses African folklore and storytelling techniques to explain natural phenomena.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan