To continue with those winners or honorees of the Coretta Scott King Award, I’ve chosen Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick; illustrated by Bryan Collier. Bryan Collier was the winner of the Coretta Scott King Award in 2010, and a brief look at this picture book/biography will tell you why.
Based on the artwork of Dave, an artist and slave living in South Carolina during the 1800’s, the author and illustrator have created a beautifully articulated and crafted book that shows not only the beauty of pottery and in creating it, but also the freeing nature of artwork, particularly to one who is enslaved.
Dave was not only a potter, he was also a poet. He wrote on a number of his pieces small poems that highlight his nature, his surroundings, and his servitude. No more than two lines, these poems have also been honored in this piece of work as the writer has drawn upon Dave’s own inspiration to try and tell his story.
Included in the back of this book is information about Dave, all his poems, and how he has inspired both the writer and illustrator in their own lives. Bryan Collier blends both watercolors and collage images in this beautiful tale of finding freedom in the darkest of places. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about a noble man whos spirit and art has spoken through the ages.
Author: Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Ages: Kindergarten and up
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, New York, New York