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Meet the Authors and Illustrators
Bryan Collier

Book List

Review the books below!

BCuptown
Uptown

BCmartin
Martin's Big Words, written by Doreen Rappaport

BCfreedom
Freedom River, written by Doreen Rappaport

BClangston
Visiting Langston, written by Willie Perdomo

BChands
These Hands, written by Hope Lynne Price

BCgod
I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children, written by Marian Wright Edelman

Bryan Collier - Illustrator

Bryan Collier is an accomplished artist and illustrator who lives in Harlem in New York City. He grew up in Southern Maryland and began painting as a teenager. Now with several books under his belt, his work has won the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award.

Interview

RIF: At what point did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?

Bryan Collier: I started doing art at 15. I decided to be an illustrator a couple years after college. I just started seeing and noticing children’s books. Then I could see the possibilities about what it means to tell a story. I could see what storytelling is and how powerful it can be.

RIF: What's your favorite part of being an artist and an illustrator?

BC: The best part is the discovery of telling a story visually and that challenge. I pride myself on telling a story a different way every time. There are no formulas or rituals. Every book feels like the first one, because of how I approach it. They all feel scary. I always ask myself, “Am I really up to this challenge?” Then the more I research and get into the story, I can surrender and let it happen.

RIF: Growing up, you were a football and basketball player. How did you choose art?

BC: I was supposed to play college football, but chose art at the last minute. It was a scary decision. I had football recruiters coming to talk to me at school. At the time, I knew in my heart I didn’t really want to do it. I knew I wanted to be an artist and be in New York. That’s all I had in my sights.

RIF: What's your favorite book that you've done?

BC: I have several favorites. With Uptown [Collier’s first book, which he wrote and illustrated], I was discovering how to tell a story. I was telling about something I knew about, Harlem. I was discovering and rediscovering it. 

Martin’s Big Words is another one. The story of Martin Luther King’s life has been told so many times. When I got into the research and as I tried to understand it as a person, it was really magical and inspiring. I went to the cities where Dr. King was during the Civil Rights movement. I got out of the car and just stood. I went to the churches that he stood in and preached in. I sort of walked in his shoes in a way.

RIF: You spend a lot of time visiting kids in schools. What do you like about that?

BC: I love going out to visit. I try to do as much as I can. I’m just amazed at the kids’ reaction to the projects that I’ve done. I’m interested in knowing how the story impacted them and if they got what I was trying to tell them. They usually do get it, and even more so. They see things that I didn’t realize.

RIF: What do you talk about with the kids?

BC: I talk about what they hope for. I ask if they’re dreaming, and if they are, what about. I try to dispel that whole thing about power and fame. I think today everyone wants to be famous for no reason. 

I talk to them about purpose. I get incredible responses because they’re right there questioning the same thing. As you become an adult, things jade you and change you. But I want them to hold onto that feeling about purpose, because there’s something much more important than fame and riches. If you do something and don’t have any purpose, you find yourself lost.

RIF: What advice do you have for kids who want to be artists and writers?

BC: Pursue it. Know that sometimes even if you see yourself as an artist, you may find yourself doing something totally different. You’ll find a connection between the two things. There’s a common thread that connects it all. At some point you have to discover your purpose with art. It has to be more than something saying that you’re good at it.

Note: Bryan Collier is illustrating two books that are coming out this year: 
- What’s the Hurry, Fox: And Other Animal Stories, written by Zora Neale Hurston, April 2004
- A book about John Lennon with author Doreen Rappaport, fall 2004

Write to Bryan!
Bryan Collier
c/o Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
115 W 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
http://www.bryancollier.com/

 

Learn more about each of these authors and illustrators:
 

 
  Author

Author

 
  Illustrator

Illustrator

 

 
- - -
 

  illustrator

Allen Say

 
  Author

Arthur Dorros

 
  Illustrator

Ashley Bryan

 
  Author

Barbara Park

 
  Illustrator

Beverly Cleary

 
  illustrator

Bryan Collier

 
  Author

Candace Fleming

 
 

Carmen Rubin

 
  illustrator

Chris Van Allsburg

 
  Author

Cornelia Funke

 
  Author

Dav Pilkey

 
  illustrator

David Kirk

 
  Author

Eoin Colfer

 
  Illustrator

Eric Carle

 
 

Fred Bowen

 
  Author

Gail Carson Levine

 
  Illustrator

Graeme Base

 
  illustrator

Henry Cole

 
  Author

Jack Prelutsky

 
  illustrator

Jerry Pinkney

 
  Author

Jerry Spinelli

 
  Author

Joseph Bruchac

 
  Author

Karen Cushman

 
  Author

Kate DiCamillo

 
  Author

Kathleen Karr

 
 

Laurie Halse Anderson

 
  Author

Lemony Snicket

 
  Author

Lemony Snicket - part 2

 
  illustrator

Lulu Delacre

 
  illustrator

Mark Teague

 
  Author

Mary Pope Osborne

 
  Author

Megan McDonald

 
  Author

Mem Fox

 
  Author

Michelle Y. Green

 
  illustrator

Mo Willems

 
  Author

Nikki Grimes

 
  illustrator

Nina Laden

 
  Author

Pam Muñoz Ryan

 
  Illustrator

Pat Cummings

 
 

R.A. Montgomery

 
  Author

R.L. Stine

 
  Author

R.L. Stine - Part II

 
  illustrator

Rosemary Wells

 
  Author

Sharon Creech

 
  Author

Stan Lee

 
  Illustrator

Tony DiTerlizzi

 
  Author

Wendelin Van Draanen

 
  Author

William Sleator

 
 


For Grown-Ups:

 
 

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