Beautiful Blackbird (2003)
Beautiful Blackbird is perhaps Ashley’s most famous book, and deservedly so. It won the 2004 Corretta Scott King Award for its striking collage illustrations, and it has been reprinted countless times in many languages—a staple in every classroom and children’s library. It is a book about tolerance, celebration of diversity and so much more.
There is a reason the Ashley Bryan Center chose the Beautiful Blackbird as its emblematic symbol—and it is not just because Ashley is African-American, or because Blackbird is an artist.
Blackbird represents the best qualities of Ashley Bryan’s character that we hope to emulate as an organization. Like Ashley, Blackbird is kind and welcoming to all; he is generous with his knowledge and creativity. In the story, Blackbird brings together community, while he celebrates individuality—emphasizing inclusion and self-worth. Even as Blackbird shares his gifts, he cautions, “Just remember, whatever I do, I’ll be me and you’ll be you.”