Ashley Bryan, whose joyous picture books celebrated Black life and history, dies at 98

Ashley Bryan, whose joyous picture books celebrated Black life and history, dies at 98

He helped broaden children’s literature, treating Black characters with dignity, not disdain

Mr. Bryan wrote or illustrated more than 70 children’s books over six decades, in addition to making paintings, linoleum block prints, collage works, hand puppets and elaborate stained glass windows, which he crafted from sea glass that washed up near his home on Little Cranberry Island, overlooking Acadia National Park in Maine.

“Each day, I look forward to finding the child in myself who’s anxious to create something new and wonderful,” he told The Washington Post last year on the eve of his 98th birthday. “I always have ideas whirling in my head.”

"We have been fortunate to have made two movies in Maine — The Way We Get By and Beneath The Harvest Sky.” Maine is a very special state in that there are so many options for locations. Given its size, you can travel to northern Maine, southern Maine, all along the coast, and tell a number of different stories in totally unique worlds with each film having very distinctive looks. The abundance of locations combined with the incredible generosity of the people and communities, make filmmaking in Maine a pure joy. We would not be filmmakers today without the support from the people of Maine and we will be forever grateful."

- Gita Pullapilly and Aron Gaudet, The Way We Get By and Beneath the Harvest Sky

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"Hands down, Karen Carberry Warhola in the Maine Film Office was the most supportive person I’ve ever spoken with, with any film project I’ve ever worked on."

- Scotty Crowe, Astraea

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