About Ashley Bryan
Author, artist and teacher Ashley Bryan has been a leading figure in children's literature for over 50 years. In 1962, he was the first African American male to both write and illustrate a book for children. His work draws upon African American traditions and folklore, blending the rhythms of the oral tradition in his writing with a wide range of mediums in his art. His work has earned numerous honors, including the Arbuthnot Award for lifetime achievement, the Regina Medal, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and several Coretta Scott King awards and honors. Bryan studied at Cooper Union and Columbia University, and taught art at Dartmouth College. In addition to creating books, Bryan helps build schools and libraries in Africa. He lives on Little Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine, and works in a studio filled with paintings, stained glass and handmade puppets.

Ashley Bryan - Press Package

Ashley Bryan Reading

Ashley Bryan Interview On MaineMaster Website

Ashley Bryan 2012 Recipient of the Coretta Scott King Virginia Hamilton Award

"The Spirituals touch me deeply and inspire my heart's Soulwork"

– Ashley Bryan



About Julie Fortenberry
Artist Julie Fortenberry has illustrated several picture books, including Pirate Boy written by Eve Bunting, a 2012 Children’s Choice Book. This is Julie’s first book as both author and illustrator, and her Alazar Press debut. Julie lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where she shares a studio with her husband, Don. To see more of Julie’s work, plus step-by-step instructions for making paper hats, visit--


Please visit Julie's BLOG at juliefortenberry.blogspot.com


About Rosemarie Gulla
Using her knowledge of stories and storytelling from her thirty years as an educator, Rosemarie works to support the developing minds of children through the use of stories that engage imaginations. Rosemarie's work has been supported by grants from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Cannon Foundation, Triangle Community Foundation, various public education networks, Duke University Community Partnerships, North Carolina Arts Council, Durham Arts Council and others. Community events designed to use the power of stories to connect individuals to each other and to ideas is always central to her work. Rosemarie currently resides in Carrboro, North Carolina with her husband Joseph - in the house where they raised their three daughters.

"If you are familiar with the storytelling power of Scheherazade as she spun those tales that lasted a thousand and one nights or perhaps the spell-binding ability of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, then perhaps you will begin to have some small sense of the magic that Rosemarie Gulla can bring to an audience of children. Only by combining a love for the literature with a deep respect for the children in her care is this possible."

"Rosemarie is extremely knowledgeable in the area of teaching reading and highly gifted in leadership and organizational skills, but her soul is one of an artist, a storyteller. All children need a touch of magic and fantasy in their lives, particularly in the area of reading. It's the kindling for a lifetime of entertainment and learning that sometimes gets overlooked. Rosemarie brings, not just a touch, but a cartload of magic drawn by a unicorn and covered with the high elf's cloak. An adult bystander is easily drawn into the enchantment of her storytelling. A mere child - doesn't stand a chance."

"Too often communities have powerful and talented people with an almost magical capacity to move everyone forward, but the community lacks the means to let that genie out of the bottle. Our community needs for our children to be able to read and write better than they do, and in our schools, we have a teacher who is succeeding almost universally in meeting that need. Working in a pilot program for at-risk children she has proven her talent, skill and desire to awaken children to the love of reading and writing, and to find the richness of meaning in literature an awakening that improves their quality of life for the rest of their lives. Teachers who have seen her successes are clamoring for the set of skills she has developed and uses. Time and again, they and others have seen her techniques light a fire in the eyes of the very children they had given up on. We want to give teachers, social workers, librarians, parents, and volunteers the opportunity to learn these skills and work together to light more fires. Rosemarie Gulla's programs hold our opportunities to move forward."

"Hi Rosemarie-
I did a workshop with you
way back when and I have to say it was the most memorable and style altering training I have ever had! Thank you so much! You literally( sorry for the pun) changed the way I read to children and how much I value the experience of literature with kids. Beyond words, letters and learning to read.....sharing a story has a life of it's own. Again, thank you for sharing your expertise, it has forever changed and deepened my appreciation for children's literature."
- Joanne Carlson


About Gary Undercuffler
Over the past thirty years, Gary has illustrated a wide variety of books, textbooks, and magazines. He also finds time to draw in his sketchbooks, do figure drawings, and Morris dance. Gary lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Diana.
To see more of Gary’s work, visit his web site--


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