AUGUSTA — Governor Janet Mills has proclaimed Monday, July 13, as Ashley Frederick Bryan Day in honor of the renowned Islesford artist, author and illustrator on the occasion of his 97th birthday.
The proclamation declares that Bryan has “enriched the lives of island residents, visitors and schoolchildren in Maine and around the world” with over 50 books, including “Beautiful Blackbird” and “Freedom Over Me,” and has “illuminated the African-American experience and cultural heritage for which he has been recognized by universities and institutions internationally, and continues to pave the way for Black writers and illustrators, creating opportunities for greater diversity in the world of children’s literature.”
The Governor’s proclamation recognizes that Bryan “has made it his life’s work to celebrate the unique spirit of every individual, offering them the gift of his love and friendship, and in sharing his understanding of the creative process…”
Most recently, Bryan’s memoir of his experience as a Black soldier during World War II, titled “Infinite Hope,” won the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for non-fiction. That award is one of the most prestigious honors in the field of children’s and young adult literature.