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Laura Ingalls Wilder Award 2009


Laura Ingalls Wilder Award 2009

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, established in 1954, honors an author or illustrator whose books are published in the U.S. and have, over a period of years, made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award is named in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the popular Little House series of books, which later became the basis for a television series. Wilder's first book, LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS (1932), was published when she was 65, and she received the first award in 1954.

Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. Beginning in 2001, it has been awarded every two years.



Ashley Bryan is the winner of the 2009 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.

Born in 1923 in New York City, Bryan has been painting since childhood. His education, interrupted by Army service in World War II, includes a degree from Columbia University. A painter, reteller, illustrator of children’s books and Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College, he lives and works on Little Cranberry Island in Maine. His award-winning works include WALK TOGETHER CHILDREN, an ALA Notable Book in 1974, and BEAUTIFUL BLACKBIRD, Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner in 2004. In addition, Bryan has received one other Coretta Scott King Book Award, plus six honors.

Dynamic use of line marks Bryan’s varied art forms, which include chalk sketches, full-color paintings, stylized drawings and cut-paper collages. Grounded in the stories, poetry and songs of the common man --- past and present --- Bryan’s work celebrates the individual life, rejoices in cultural specificity and embraces a shared humanity.

BEAUTIFUL BLACKBIRD showcases the unique characteristics of Ashley Bryan’s works. His rhythmic cadence retells a Zambian tale about how African birds attained their distinctive markings. Bold, colorful cut-paper collages, striking geometric designs and energetic visual movement capture the spirit of a community enriched by the individuality of its members.