Ashley Bryan (1923-2022)

Beloved author and illustrator Ashley Bryan passed away last Friday at the age of ninety-eight. The winner of the 2012 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 2009 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal (now Children's Literature Legacy), Bryan was a Newbery honoree and winner of a dozen Coretta Scott King Book Awards. In 2017 he won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award for Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, and in 2020 he won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award for Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace, a visual chronicle of his experiences serving overseas in the segregated U.S. Army during WWII, including in the trenches on D-Day.

He was an inspirational figure both within the pages of his books and outside them. Every appearance in front of an audience included recitations of poetry, often by Langston Hughes and Eloise Greenfield and Lucille Clifton, with full-throated audience engagement. He was passionate about bringing poetry to life; he truly lived that passion.

You can watch Roger Sutton's 2020 interview with Ashley Bryan here, and read much more by and about him. Look for a more complete appreciation of this remarkable man in an upcoming issue of The Horn Book Magazine. 

The Ashley Bryan Center has set up a virtual memory book to share thoughts and memories about the consummate storyteller and book creator, may he rest in peace. 

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.