Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
(Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner)

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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.

About Ashley Bryan

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Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; he has also been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine, where he can often be found with a cluster of children, all singing.
Published April 19, 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 40 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beautiful Blackbird

Kirkus Reviews

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The other birds agree that Blackbird is the most beautiful, as his black feathers “gleam all colors in the sun.” Blackbird mixes up a little something in his medicine gourd, and presents each bird with some black patterns of its own.

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Publishers Weekly

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Bryan gives a joyous performance of his work on this recording of some of his favorite African tales.

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Publishers Weekly

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The message about inner beauty and identity becomes somewhat diluted by the closing song, in which the birds triumphantly sing, "Our colors sport a brand-new look,/ A touch of black was all it took./ Oh beautiful black, uh-huh, uh-huh/ Black is beautiful, UH-HUH!"

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Common Sense Media

The other birds thought that Blackbird was the most beautiful because his color included all the colors under the sun, so they asked him to make a blackening brew to mark them with his beautiful black.

Jan 31 2004 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Blackbird (Coretta ...

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