Black is beautiful, uh-huh! Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings -- markings that detail birds to this very day. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan's adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia reso-nates both with rhythm and the tale's universal meanings -- appreciating one's heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.
Ashley Bryan has been writing and illustrating children's books for thirty years, as well as making puppets, creating stained-glass panels out of sea glass, and gardening. Over the years he has lectured widely and appeared at schools and colleges across the country. He won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum, and Lion and the Ostrich Chicks: And Other African Folk Tales and Ashley Bryan's ABC of African-American Poetry were Coretta Scott King Honor Books. He lives on Cranberry Island in Islesford, Maine.