The Delaware County District Library is hosting a first-of-its-kind panel exhibition this winter called “Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature.”
Organized by the Miami University Art Museum through a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, this is the first time African-American children’s illustrated literature has been the focus of a museum exhibition.
The panel exhibition showcases 130 pieces of art from 33 artists and 95 books, and spans 50 years of creativity. The featured artists include Caldecott medalists and honorees like John Steptoe, Ashley Bryan, E.B. Lewis, Leo and Diane Dillon, R. Gregory Christie, and Jerry Pinkney.
The exhibit will be on display at the Delaware Main Library from Jan. 3-31 and at the Orange Branch Library from Feb. 1-28. Learn about the exhibit at www.delawarelibrary.org/exhibit.
The Delaware County District Library is thrilled to host featured panel artist and acclaimed children’s book illustrator R. Gregory Christie on Feb. 11 and 12 for a variety of activities. On Friday night from 6-8 p.m., Christie will host an after-hours painting workshop for tweens, teens and adults. Then on Saturday, the whole family can create a book together during Christie’s drawing and book binding workshop from 2-4 p.m. Pre-registration is required for both of these activities, so secure your seat today.
Want to get up close and personal with the exhibit? Between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Feb. 12, Christie will provide guided tours of the Telling a People’s Story exhibit panels, pointing out fellow authors and illustrators featured on the panels and artistic techniques used.
Along with this special exhibit, the library is offering programs throughout January and February celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.
“Meet Dr. King,” performed by Bright Star Touring Theatre, is an introduction to an American hero and will inspire young audiences to use peace, leadership, and conflict resolution in their own schools and communities. Content is suitable for Pre-K ages and older. Two performances will be given on Monday, Jan. 17. One will take place at 2 p.m. in the Orange Branch Library, and the same performance will take place later that evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Delaware Main Library.
Bright Star Touring Theatre returns to the Orange Branch Library on Monday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. with African Folktales, a celebration of world cultures, literature, and the art of interactive African storytelling. Kids in preschool through elementary school will enjoy this performance filled with imaginative costumes and audience participation.
The library and our community partners at the Friends of the Library, Richard M. Ross Art Museum, Delaware African American Heritage Council, and the Arts Castle cannot wait to share this exhibit and all of the accompanying programs and performances with the Delaware County community.
Check out some of the titles below to see art featured in the panel exhibition and by our guest illustrator.
• “Freedom in Congo Square,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. A poetic tribute to a lesser-known event in African-American history describes how after working relentlessly for more than six days, slaves in 19th-century New Orleans were permitted to congregate in Congo Square to sing, dance and put aside their troubles for a few hours.
• “Richard Wright and the Library Card,” written by William Miller, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. A seventeen-year-old African-American boy borrows a white man’s library card and devours every book as a ticket to freedom.
• “The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore,” written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Relates the story of the National Memorial African Bookstore, founded in Harlem by Louis Michaux in 1939, as seen from the perspective of Louis Michaux Jr., who met famous men like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X while helping there.
• “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal,” written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Recounts the life story of U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, a black man born into slavery who became the most successful lawman of the Wild West, bringing thousands of fugitives to justice through fear, cunning and respect despite an atmosphere of prejudice.
• “Roots and Blues: A Celebration,” written by Arnold Adoff, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lyrical text explores how Blues have been part of everyday life throughout history, from its origins in the sounds of the earth, through slaves’ voices singing of freedom, to today’s greatest performers — and listeners.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!