Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Ashley Bryan: Words To My Life's Song

Ashley Bryan: Words To My Life's Song

Spring 2009 Non-Fiction
Ages: 3 & Up
Author: Ashley Bryan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781416905417
Hardcover Price: $18.99
Review:
Having studied and traveled throughout the world, Ashley Bryan is a true member of the global community. In his many books, he depicts people, and especially children, from and in places around the world. In this, his autobiography, Bryan invites the reader to join him as he recounts his lifetime of travels. Now living permanently on Little Cranberry Island, Maine, Ashley takes readers on a walk around his beloved island as he lovingly describes the natural world we encounter.

On the opposing page of double-page spreads, he tells of his life's journey from his happy childhood in a Bronx apartment that his parents filled with children, birds, and flowers, through his adulthood encountering war and prejudice, always buffered by his art. Landing on Normandy, his shovel kept collapsing, and he spent the first night on that infamous beach lying in a twelve-inch-deep hole, keeping his art supplies and sketchpad safe inside his gas mask. All of his tribulations are told in a matter-of-fact tone that belies the difficulties he endured.

This book weaves the two strands of a short walk with the linear story of Ashley's life across double-page spreads filled with montages of his artwork representing the stages of his professional development. Some double-page spreads are interspersed that silently reveal the beauty and variety of his creations. The book design by Michael McCartney is brilliant. He allows Ashley's artwork to shine as brightly as Ashley's own depiction of the sun on the cover – which is then reflected onto the photograph of our author/illustrator with arms outstretched and welcoming.

Kemie Nix   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.


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