When Ashley Bryan read Adventure Girl Dabi Digs in Israel written and illustrated by Janice Hechter he commented that the story went directly to the heart and life of a child … the illustrations were exciting companions to the text.
– Ashley Bryan — Author of Freedom Over Me, winner of a Newbury Honor and 19 other awards. Ashley has been awarded over 23 honorary degrees and awards for lifetime achievement. Ashley has had 7 awards named for him including a school, libraries, a literature award and the Atlanta Literary Festival award among others.
In Dabi, Janice Hechter offers us a heroine for the ages—a budding archaeologist who will never be too old or too lady-like to dig in the dirt and discover essential parts of Israel’s past. Hechter’s illustrations burst with vitality, and Dabi feels like a real companion for curious kids with a sense of adventure.
– Miriam Udel is associate professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture at Emory University, where she studies the Jewish encounter with modernity. She holds an AB in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, as well as a PhD in Comparative Literature from the same institution.
Her academic research interests include 20th-century Yiddish literature and culture, Jewish children’s literature, and American-Jewish literature, and genre studies. In Honey on the Page (NYU Press, October 2020), Udel delivers to students of Jewish history and literary culture a rich resource of nearly fifty Yiddish stories and poems from around the globe, most of them appearing for the first time in English translation. The collection offers Jewish families, educators, and librarians a treasure trove of Yiddish tales for children of all ages that will illuminate their religious, cultural, and ethical heritage. She views the project as a convergence of her work as a researcher, language teacher, and mother—reclaiming and surfacing a textual legacy that she is enthusiastic about sharing with her students and her own children as well as other curious readers.
When Ashley Bryan read Alaina and the Great Play by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Colin Bootman he commented that the story went directly to the heart and life of a child … the illustrations were exciting companions to the text.
Ashley Bryan is the Author of Freedom Over Me, winner of a Newbury Honor and 19 other awards. Ashley has been awarded over 23 honorary degrees and awards for lifetime achievement. Ashley has had 7 awards named for him including a school, libraries, a literature award and the Atlanta Literary Festival award among others.
A young girl is so excited about the speech she will give in a play—“Thank you for coming! Goodbye!”—that she jumps out of bed (on the bed, actually), earning that familiar you’d-better-stop-that-right-now “look” from her mom. From cover to cover, this book will steal your heart. With Alaina and the Great Play, beloved author Eloise Greenfield successfully captures the joy of a Black child and the strength and support of her family as they prepare for a special performance. The emotions of the story are brought to life by the gifted Colin Bootman, whose textured paintings exude the qualities of Black Girl magic.
Don Tate is an award-winning illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, including Carter Reads The Newspaper (Peachtree Publishing, 2019), No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and his Kingdom in Kansas (Knopf, 2018), Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (Charlesbridge, 2016) The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans, 2015); many others.
Don is a founding host of the The Brown Bookshelf –a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers; and a one-time member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature.
About 15 years ago, a group of seminary professors and I took the mail boat out to Little Cranberry, one of the many small islands that dot Maine’s rocky coastline. We docked at tiny Islesford and walked through the woods to a cottage nestled among the pine trees in the quaint harbor town.
We were visiting the home and studio of Ashley Bryan,(link is external) a now-97-year-old African American storyteller, artist and illustrator. After an award-winning career studying, teaching and creating art around the world, Bryan moved to the island to continue his craft in retirement.
His living and working space, which now includes an adjacent showcase pavilion as part of the Ashley Bryan Center, is a rich testament to his work. Every surface, nook and cranny is crammed with his collections, collages, paintings, sculpted figures, sea glass, driftwood and shells. He sees beauty in whatever he finds washed up on the ocean shore.