Bryan Collier is a beloved illustrator known for his unique style combining watercolor and detailed collage. He is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Trombone Shorty, Dave the Potter, Martin’s Big Words, and Rosa. His books have won many other awards as well, including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. His recent books include By and By, Thurgood, The Five O’Clock Band, and Between the Lines.
On Tuesday, March 28, Mr. Collier visited Balmville Elementary School. Mr. Collier is known best for illustrating children’s books. He won both the Coretta Scott King Award, as illustrator, and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for Uptown, the first book he both wrote and illustrated. During his visit, Mr. Collier spoke to each child’s inner artist. He discussed how as a young boy his own creativity and imagination was sparked seeing a character that he resembled in the first book he ever read by himself (The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats). Collier then gave his young audience a scenario using one of their classmates as the subject. He provided the students with a blank canvas and challenged them to use their creative minds to paint the scene. He provided the premise of an untold story and asked the students to create a world for their new main character. Together, they created an entire scene for their classmate. Everything from his environment to the colors of his clothing were directly from the children’s minds. Mr. Collier then explained to the children that they just created the first page of their very own book. He ignited their imaginations in that moment and the children were eager to create more.
Balmville students created their own collages and stories inspired by his influence. Their Collier inspired works can be seen on multiple bulletin boards throughout the school building.