Ashley Bryan

Ashely Bryan, an art activist for children, has passed away. He was 98 years old.

Ashley Bryan believed in the arts- music, painting, sketching, collaging, story telling- you name it, he believed in it. Furthermore, he was able to put himself into children shoes and write for them.

He knew his craft and delivered it well.

With so many people writing children book’s these days, it looks quite easy to write and illustrate a book for a child; however, when you view Ashley Bryan’s ‘Walk together Children’ or ‘Puppets Making Something from Everything’ or ‘Beautiful Blackbird’; you know children book making is more about craft than about circumstance, more about inspiration than about influence and more about realization than about repetition.

Ashley Bryan will continue to live on in classrooms and communities because of his deep appreciation of who he was and from whence he came.

Meet Marita Golden, author of “The Wide Circumference of Love” — AlzAuthors

Silent Storm: What We Remember, What We Forget, What We Discover A Novelist Meditates on Writing about Alzheimer’s By Marita Golden I didn’t choose. I was called. That’s how inspiration, art, and creativity work sometimes. I am often asked why I wrote a novel about Alzheimer’s disease.

via Meet Marita Golden, author of “The Wide Circumference of Love” — AlzAuthors

All-Star Reading Of Ta-Nehisi Coates Debuts At Apollo Theater — CBS New York

By Hillel Italie AP National Writer NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Apollo Theater audience cheered and cheered for Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the readers of “Between the World and Me.” A capacity crowd at the famed New York City venue was on hand Monday night for a stage recital of Coates’ prize-winning book, one met throughout…

via All-Star Reading Of Ta-Nehisi Coates Debuts At Apollo Theater — CBS New York

Rice & Rocks by Sandra Richards


.Today I brought all the books I bought at the book fair into the classroom.

Pick a book to read. I told them.

Something about a book begin new and signed by the authors made the children really excited.

Dominic looked at all the books and picked Rice and Rocks. He saw there quietly, reading and turning each page slowly.

When he was done, he looked up at me and said in a slow and emotional way,

Ms. Lilly, I really liked this book.

He sat there thinking and I didn’t interrupt. But now, I want to know what exactly he was thinking about. Maybe tomorrow I will ask him why he liked the book.

Pictured: The author of Rice and Rocks (Ms. Richards) posing with her book


Authors and Illustrators


From left to right:

Javaka Steptoe, Carole Boston Weatherford, R. Gregory Christie, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Elizabeth Zunon, Floyd Cooper and Jeffery Boston Weatherford

Taken at the 25th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair

African American Children’s Book Fair



Two weeks ago, some Mary Mitchell Students traveled from the Bronx to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to attend their annual African American Book Fair. It was  a dream come true for me. My first self lead trip out of state with my students. It was a great success (If I may say so myself).

In this photo are some Mary Mitchell students with Author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Illustrator R. Gregory Christie.

Ms. Nelson is penning a sheriff badge on Jerome. He had just told me that he didn’t want any books. That was before he met Ms. Nelson. She changed his mind. He ended up getting Bad News for Outlaws (written by Ms. Nelson and Illustrated by Mr. Christie).

The Snowy Day

A Saturday ago, I went to the Jewish Museum to see The Snowy Day exhibit. Prior to my visit, I had very little knowledge of Ezra Jack Keats. I only remembered reading The Snowy Day as a child. It wasn’t even a favorite book of mine. I don’t know why I felt I really needed to go see the exhibit. Anyway, I went and was glad I did.

I went with preconceived ideas about the book and it’s illustrator/ author. I thought Ezra Jack Keats was black and was surprised to learn that he was Jewish. I was also surprised when I learned that his book was the first children’s book to include a black protagonist. He knew what it felt like to be ignored because of something about yourself you can’t change and did not only use Black characters but Hispanic and White.

“My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along” he said in response to Pete’s character.

As I walked through the exhibit, I felt so inspired. The art in itself was amazing. He started drawing as a child and even though he did not have that great of a relationship with his mom, she encouraged him to draw.

What I remembered and spoke about the most was the letters he received from people concerned about the color of his skin and the color of his characters. One person wanted an edition of a book he illustrated, but wanted him to changed the color of the character. His response was:

“Like life, there is only one edition.”