Ashley Bryan is the winner of the 2009 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
Ashley taught at my school long before I came, but continues to come for visits. In fact, one year the third grade interviewed him and wrote his biography. We got to know each other even better over the years when we together attended the annual CLNE summer institutes. (The image above is from the one in 2006.) Just last May I was at a CLNE colloquy and well recall standing around a bonfire being led by Ashley in poetry recitation.
This past Wednesday our school celebrated Ashley’s own telling of his story, Words to My Life’s Song. A high school a capella group sang the three spirituals from Let It Shine, I presented my class’s reading of Beautiful Blackbird (you can hear a podcast of this here), and Ashley spoke and recited and led us as only he can.
We are all so lucky to know Ashley in person, through his books, and through his being.