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2022: The Year in Words and Pictures

This year’s ALA Youth Media Award winners represent a range of experiences, expertise, interests, and topics. There are previous, beloved winners and there are newcomers to the stage — notably Doug Salati for the Caldecott Medal and Amina Luqman-Dawson for both the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Author awards. Three...

Profile of 2023 Children's Literature Legacy Award winner James E. Ransome

Jonda C. McNair and James E. Ransome in 2001. Photo: James J. Bishop. One of the highlights of my time as a doctoral student was serving as a hostess for esteemed authors and illustrators when they came to town to participate in the now-defunct The Ohio State University Children’s Literature...

2023 Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance: Belonging by James E. Ransome

Photo: John Halpern. Thank you, American Library Association, for honoring my work with this incredible award. But, just to be clear, the Children’s Literature Legacy Award is for my previous body of work — correct? Because I’m not done yet! I have plans, ideas, and contracts, so, God willing, I...

Review of The Story of the Saxophone

The Story of the Saxophone by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James E. RansomePrimary    Holiday    40 pp.2/23    9780823437023    $19.99e-book ed.  9780823442225    $10.99Perhaps no instrument is more associated with jazz than the saxophone. And no city more tied to both than New Orleans. But the history of the saxophone (originally saxophon), engagingly...

Review of On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison

On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison by Jerdine Nolen; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp.    g 9/22    978-1-5344-7852-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-7853-4    $10.99 This picture-book biography of writer Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford), by the team behind Freedom Bird (rev. 1/20), pays homage...

Review of Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-7636-9650-4    $17.99 In this picture book set in the 1960s (and inspired by the author’s childhood memories), Michael and his granddaddy are fascinated by the...

Overground Railroad

On June 24, 1944, my grandparents boarded a northbound train in Mount Olive, North Carolina, headed for New Haven, Connecticut, where my grandfather’s sister lived. For my grandparents, leaving Mount Olive meant opportunities for jobs other than working on the farm or cleaning someone’s house. It meant leaving behind the...

Review of Freedom Bird

Freedom Bird by Jerdine Nolen; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary    Wiseman/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-0-689-87167-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-0222-4    $10.99 Nolen presents an original story about flight and freedom — the former an enduring motif, the latter a recurrent theme, in African American folklore. Millicent and John worked alongside...

Before She Was Harriet

I wrote this elsewhere last year, but I’ll say it again here: I think this is one of the best books by husband-and-wife author-illustrator team Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome, who have collaborated on some fifteen picture books thus far in their careers.This spare biography of Harriet Tubman, “a wisp of...

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