Books by Bryan Collier

MY COUNTRY, ’TIS OF THEE by Claire Rudolf Murphy
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: June 3, 2014

"This examination of a well-known piece of music and the activism it inspired makes for a fascinating way to explore history. (Informational picture book. 5-9)"
One of the first patriotic songs young Americans learn in school is "America," more commonly known as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Read full book review >
KNOCK KNOCK by Daniel Beaty
Released: Dec. 17, 2013

"A valiant effort that falls short of its source's fearless honesty and passion. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A heartfelt effort to transform Beaty's celebrated monologue into a picture book undermines the source material's power, despite the contributions of Collier's stunning collage-and-watercolor artwork. Read full book review >
FIFTY CENTS AND A DREAM by Jabari Asim
Released: Dec. 4, 2012

"An outstanding achievement and a life worthy of note. (additional facts, author's note, illustrator's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
A former slave fulfills his quest for an education and much more in this superbly designed tribute to an oft-maligned African-American educator and author. Read full book review >
I, TOO, AM AMERICA by Langston Hughes
Released: May 22, 2012

"Enjoy the poem and the illustrations; skip the instructions. (Picture book. 8 & up)"
A brilliant visual association between Hughes' poem and the history of the Pullman porters illuminates a chapter of American history but gets bogged down in backmatter explaining its metaphors. Read full book review >
YOUR MOON, MY MOON by Patricia MacLachlan
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 16, 2011

"Both doting grandparents and their faraway grandchildren can appreciate the message of this unabashedly sentimental tribute, an obvious gift book. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Missing a grandchild in a distant tropical country, a grandmother remembers their times together and reflects that they share the same moon. Read full book review >
DAVE THE POTTER by Laban Carrick Hill
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"Nonetheless, an accomplished, visually stunning homage to an important African-American artist. (author's and illustrator's notes, bibliography, websites) (Picture book/poetry/biography. 7-10)"
The enslaved 19th-century potter Dave, who lived and worked near Edgefield, S.C., could transform 60 pounds of clay into a 40-gallon pot. Read full book review >
¡CLEMENTE! by Willie Perdomo
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 1, 2010

Riding the tide of his own father's ("president of the GREATEST FANS OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE CLUB, Boogie-down Bronx chapter") hero worship, a young narrator named after the great ball player and humanitarian highlights Clemente's life and achievements up to that fatal "last sacrifice fly" (he was killed in the crash of a plane filled with earthquake-relief supplies in 1972), then pays homage to his strength of character, his belief that "con respeto, / con orgullo, with faith, with hope, / with belief in yourself…/ anything is possible in this world." Read full book review >
DOO-WOP POP by Roni Schotter
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2008

"Cousin Brucie's jacket blurb summarizes nicely: "—wow!" (Picture book. 4-8)"
School janitor Mr. Searle, a singer in his youth, earns the tag "Doo-Wop Pop." Read full book review >
LINCOLN AND DOUGLASS by Nikki Giovanni
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"It's the season for Lincolnalia, but this team, who collaborated successfully on Rosa (2005), fail to present a focused work that will be meaningful to children. (timeline) (Picture book. 4-7)"
A dramatic double-page spread of the Emancipation Proclamation fast-forwards to a March evening in 1865 at the White House, where President and Mrs. Lincoln are hosting an inaugural ball and to which Frederick Douglass is an invited guest. Read full book review >
BARACK OBAMA by Nikki Grimes
Released: Aug. 26, 2008

"Still, of the three candidates' picture-book biographies out this season, this stands as the one most likely to communicate to children on a visceral level. (author's, illustrator's notes, resources, timeline, family tree) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
When David wonders why all those people on TV are shouting one man's name, his mother tells him Barack Obama's story. Read full book review >
TWELVE ROUNDS TO GLORY by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Released: Dec. 1, 2007

"A challenging, sometimes beautiful tribute to a modern-day hero—attractive, impressive and dramatic, but not a knockout. (timeline) (Poetry/nonfiction. 10+)"
Smith's most ambitious project to date celebrates the life of Muhammad Ali, from his Olympic gold medal in 1960, renowned fights with Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier, his personal battle with Parkinson's syndrome to the dramatic lighting of the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. Read full book review >
LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING by James Weldon Johnson
POETRY
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"A bright blue predominates in intensely hued skies and school uniforms, while Collier's highly recognizable style incorporates watercolor and collage to meaningful effect. (illustrator's note, words with music) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)"
In his highly iconic reinterpretation of the beloved "Negro National Anthem," Collier was inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Read full book review >
WELCOME, PRECIOUS by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"Still, this is a reassuring charmer and a sure-to-be-welcomed paean to doting parents and their cherished newborns. (Picture book/poetry. 0-3)"
Every child should be so blessed as to be welcomed to the world and into the loving embrace of an adoring family, as is the African-American newborn in this warm poetic picture book. Read full book review >
ROSA by Nikki Giovanni
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"An essential volume for classrooms and libraries. (Picture book. 5+)"
Rosa Parks sat. Read full book review >
JOHN’S SECRET DREAMS by Doreen Rappaport
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"A lively, if unusual, take on the pop-culture icon, whose music is as fresh today as it was then. (author's note, illustrator's note, important dates, discography, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. All ages)"
In their latest collaboration, Rappaport and Collier combine a spare, poetic text and watercolor-and-collage illustrations to introduce readers to John Lennon and as varied references as Lewis Carroll, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the war in Vietnam, and the civil-rights movement. Read full book review >
WHAT’S THE HURRY, FOX? by Zora Neale Hurston
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 2004

"Younger audiences might not know Hurston as a folklorist; here's help for that, in an inviting mix of new tales and familiar ones made fresh. (Folk tales. 7-10)"
Thomas polishes up nine anecdotes and pourquoi tales collected by Hurston, but only recently rediscovered (along with hundreds more) and published in a collection for adults. Read full book review >
WHAT'S THE HURRY, FOX? by Zora Neale Hurston
Released: April 1, 2004

"Younger audiences might not know Hurston as a folklorist; here's help for that, in an inviting mix of tales and familiar ones made fresh. (Folk tales. 7-10)"
Thomas polishes up nine anecdotes and pourquoi tales collected by Hurston, but only recently rediscovered (along with hundreds more) and published in a collection for adults. Read full book review >
I’M YOUR CHILD, GOD by Marian Wright Edelman
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"This may have some difficulty finding its audience, but the strength of author and illustrator will help draw them in. (preface, introduction) (Nonfiction. 7-12)"
The earnest and thoughtful Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, has cast a wide net: she offers prayers for both young children and teens, for special occasions, for "Struggle and Strength," and a small selection of traditional prayers like the Prayer of St Francis and selected psalms. Read full book review >
MARTIN’S BIG WORDS by Doreen Rappaport
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Readers will hear his voice echo in this presentation. (timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 5-9)"
Beginning with the startling cover, which contains only the face of Martin Luther King Jr., with his smile broad, and his eyes crinkled in laughter, this title intrigues. Read full book review >
VISITING LANGSTON by Willie Perdomo
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"In this year of Langston Hughes's centennial, this work does him great honor. (Poetry. 6-10)"
A little girl is going with her daddy to visit the home of Langston Hughes. Read full book review >
FREEDOM RIVER by Doreen Rappaport
BIOGRAPHY
Released: July 1, 2000

Before the Civil War, John Parker, an ex-slave, successful businessman, and resident of the free state of Ohio crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky (a slave state) and risked his own life to free those still in bondage. Read full book review >
UPTOWN by Bryan Collier
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2000

"Walter Dean Myers's poem Harlem (1997), illustrated in similar style by Christopher Myers, conveys a deeper sense of the African American community's history, but this makes an engagingly energetic once-over. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Collier debuts with a set of dazzling paint-and-photo collages paired to a child's tribute to his Harlem neighborhood. Read full book review >