Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey From World War II to Peace
by Ashley Bryan
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (October 15, 2019)
Nonfiction * Biography * History
Audience: Ages 10 and up
Indiebound | WorldCat
Description from GoodReads:
In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army.
He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness—including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers…but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought.
For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story. The story of the kind people who supported him. The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark. And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again.
Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor–winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.
Quick thoughts on this book:
When I opened the envelope and found the F&G (folded & gathered) of Ashley Bryan’s upcoming book, I immediately knew I had to read it. I was intrigued by the cover, and the title. How was Bryan going to tackle this biographical work particularly because of the format and audience?
As I read through this book, I was fascinated to learn about Bryan’s time in the military, his encounter with racism that was different than he had experienced before, and how his art flows throughout all of his story. The other thing that struck me as I read this book is that though the format may be a picture book, the text and content are for older students. Though I think picture books are for all ages and that even a picture book written for a young audience can be appreciated by older students or adults, there are still some picture books that are specific to an older audience. This is one of those books. For teachers looking for picture books for middle school students, you will want to take a look at this book.
Teacher can utilize this book as a mentor text for a memoir/biography unit. Art teachers can use this to talk about text and design. Bryan utilizes photographs, handwritten letters, illustrations, and more to share his experiences. Mark your calendars to pick up this book when it releases on October 15, 2019. You won’t want to miss this one.
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