Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song


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Ashley's autobiography is full of art, photographs, and the poignant never-say-never tale of his rich life, a life that has always included drawing and painting. Even as a boy growing up during the Depression, he painted — finding cast off objects to turn into books and kites and toy and art. Even as a solder in the segregated Army on the beaches of Normandy, he sketched — keeping charcoal crayons and paper in his gasmask to draw with during lulls. Even as a talented, visionary art student who was accepted and then turned away from college upon arrival, the school telling Ashley that to give a scholarship to an African American student would be a waste, he painted — continuing to create art when he could have been discouraged, continuing to polish his talents when his spirit should have been beaten. Ashley went on to become a Hans Christian Anderson Award nominee, a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, and a multiple Coretta Scott King award winner. As you might imagine, his story is powerful, bursting with his creative energy, and a testament to believing in oneself. It's a book every child in America should have access to and it does what the very best autobiographies do; it inspires!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416905417
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 01/06/2009
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 10.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 9 Years

About the Author

Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he was recently named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer; a Coretta Scott King Award winner; and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over Me; Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum; Let It Shine; Ashley Bryan’s Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

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Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
twonickels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a lot of love for Ashley Bryan even before reading this beautiful autobiography. This man is a treasure, as is this book. Hard not to feel inspired to make art after finishing this.
abbrown1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashley Bryan's book is a fabulous story of his life growing up in New York with his many siblings and his Antiguan parents. His story describes the hopes and dreams of his parents who came to America for very specific reasons; to fulfill their dreams. Although his parents did not harp on the many prejudices they experienced being Black in America, Bryan soon came to realize these ugly truths and dedicated much of his artistic efforts to great African American and African poets, artists, stories, and storytellers. Bryan discusses how his early life was very much influenced by the beauty and brilliance of many other cultures though, in his work, he mainly focuses on uplifting and bringing to life the African and African American aesthetic. Throughout this text the photos provoke strong emotional feelings of strength, determination, persistence, family values, and an appreciation for culture and art. The images are bold and beautiful. Within the book, some pages are only pictures or artwork that, to me, seem to tell the story Bryan is conveying better than he can in words. although I would not use this book as a read aloud because it is lengthy, it is great to look at and to get ideas for great read alouds with vivid art and illustrations. I loved it!
derbygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(picture biography, multicultural)This is an inviting book from page one. Even the jacket cover issues a formal invitation to the world of Ashley Bryan with the promise of a grilled cheese sandwich! Now, who can resist that? Cramped in a tiny apartment with not much to spare, Ashley's mother was always able to find and create beauty wherever she was. Perhaps that is why Ashley was able to do the same, particularly considering he lived and developed during the Depression era. After recently completed a novel on Claudette Colvin, it was surprising to me to learn that segregation and racism even reached the ranks of the military and enrollment in art schools! Ashley Bryan experienced these very racisms. Through these challenges, Ashley Bryan never gave up his dream to spend the day, the full day, in pursuit of his art. He wanted to be considered a professional and have his art published in books. This book follows the steps he took to make that happen. I thought it was genius how on each page, one side of the text is Ashley narrating his past and on the other side is the present as he and (I assume) a "reporter"(or whomever he is telling his story to? Perhaps the reader?) are walking along talking about his past. The Present side of text virtually takes you through a typical Ashley Bryan day, strolling along the Maine coast, picking up sea glass. Towards the end of the book there is a two page spread with all the books that Bryan illustrated pictured. An activity could be with older children to have them pick and read one of those books. Another idea would be to provide materials necessary for them to recreate artwork reminiscient of Bryan's African american inspired art with just the blacks, browns, reds, and oranges.
tlwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This autobiography of Ashley Bryan is more a piece of art and secondarily an autobiography. It is told in vignette-like fashion with each page illustrated/decorated in beautiful collages, illustrations, paintings, etc. The colors are a celebration on each page. The illustrations say almost as much as the words overall, and more in some cases. Although I read the book from cover to cover, and it did follow his life chronologically, it would also be possible to read each page in just about any order that caught one's fancy, as I'm sure students might do.