We were visiting the home and studio of Ashley Bryan, a now-97-year-old African American storyteller, artist and illustrator . . .

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.


Charmingly told and artfully illustrated, Adventure Girl is perfect for any child who loves to dig in the dirt and make their own discoveries

Adventure Girl: Dabi Digs in Israel

Written and illustrated by Janice Hechter 

Charmingly told and artfully illustrated, Adventure Girl is perfect for any child who loves to dig in the dirt and make their own discoveries. Dabi flies to Israel with her family to visit her grandparents. She’s happy digging up worms and making mud sculptures, but her parents wish she would clean up and dress like a little lady. When her aunt comes to visit, she recognizes a kindred spirit and takes Dabi on an archeological dig. Dabi crawls into a cave, digs up dirt, and makes a fabulous discovery – a 3,500-year-old artifact! Her family is proud of her and Dabi loves being an Adventure Girl.

Told in kid-friendly text with plenty of vivid verbs, awesome alliteration and powerful onomatopoeia. The realistic illustrations bring the landscape of Israel to life and show Dabi’s adventurous spirit. The back matter gives more information about the Beit Guvrin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Israel, where kids can join a dig, crawl into caves, and explore ruins of ancient cities.

Joy Nelkin Wieder, Author/Illustrator
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyWieder
Facebook: fb.me/joynelkinwieder Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jnwieder/

Available Now: Author of The Passover Mouse, Illustrated by Shahar Kober (Doubleday)

Author/Illustrator of The Great Potato Plan and The Secret Tunnel (Hachai). 

Contributor/Illustrator of An Assortment of Animals (The Writer’s Loft).

We need more “Adventure Girl-Dabi Digs in Israel” stories to create a whole new generation of archaeologists!

We need more “Adventure Girl-Dabi Digs in Israel” stories to create a whole new generation of archaeologists! Making discoveries in the field is great for ages 8-80!

Professor Richard Freund, Archaeologist, Christopher Newport University

Professor Freund has directed over a dozen archaeological projects in Israel, including sites associated with the beginnings of Christianity and Judaism at Nazareth, Bethsaida, and Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition, he has directed projects in Spain (two sites), Poland (three sites), Rhodes, Greece (four sites) and Lithuania (18 locations). His work has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Archaeology, Smithsonian Magazine and featured on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and Fox News and in hundreds of media outlets worldwide. His work is featured in 20 television documentaries from National Geographic, CNN, Discovery,History Channel and PBS. His most recent work in Lithuania has been chronicled in a recent NOVA episode: “Holocaust Escape Tunnel.” The program focuses on the new discoveries made in the Ponar Burial Pits and the Great Synagogue of Vilna, Lithuania. Dr. Freund is the author of over 100 scholarly articles and 12 books (written or co-edited) including Digging Through History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012; paperback 2016). His newest book Archaeology of the Holocaust: Vilna, Rhodes, and Escape Tunnels (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) is available nationwide.