Rhythms of the Heart: Illustrations of Ashley Bryan
Renowned for the extraordinary range and depth of his talent, Ashley Bryan is an artist, writer, anthologist, storyteller, and scholar of African and African American folklore, poetry, and spirituals. He hopes his work is like a "tender bridge," connecting past to present, reaching across time and space. His numerous honors include nine Coretta Scott King Awards or Honors, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal — presented by the American Library Association to writers and illustrators who have made substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature, and the Arbuthnot Prize — awarded by the International Reading Association in recognition of lifetime achievement.
Rhythms of the Heart features linoleum prints; pencil, pen, and ink drawings; and watercolor, gouache, and tempera paintings — nearly 70 artworks from 21 books. Among those represented are All Night, All Day: A Child's First Book of African American Spirituals, Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry, Let it Shine, The Night Has Ears: African Proverbs, and Beautiful Blackbird.
Ashley Bryan's story is one of courage, generosity, and inspiration. Born in 1923, in Harlem, to Jamaican immigrants, his first memories are of attending government-run WPA classes where he learned to draw, paint, and play musical instruments. Bryan self-published his first book in kindergarten — an alphabet book he authored, illustrated, bound, and distributed. He attended Cooper Union Art School, served two years in WWII, studied philosophy at Columbia University, earned a Fulbright scholarship to study art in Europe, and became head of the art department at Dartmouth College. With over 30 books to his credit, Bryan now lives on Little Cranberry Island, off the coast of Maine, where his studio — often open to visitors — is filled with art, toys, and handmade puppets.
Rhythms of the Heart: Illustrations of Ashley Bryan is organized by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. This exhibition is made possible by a generous gift from Terri and Jack Diesing, Jr.
Ashley Bryan to Speak at Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival
Ashley Bryan will be speaking at the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival Adult Conference on Saturday, October 9 at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. His presentation is entitled "Deep Like the Rivers: African American Poets, Spirituals and Folktales." The public is invited to attend the conference to see award-winning authors and illustrators, as well as literacy experts. Visit www.cune.edu/plumcreek for information on registration and fees. Registration deadline is September 24.