Tag Archives: christopher silas neal
mary lyn ray’s picture book life
Mary Lyn Ray. Picture book author. Conservationist. Huge inspiration.
Ray’s books are special to me. And I doubt I’m alone in that. They’re special period. Lyrical, lovely, connected to the earth and community.
I consider her the Barbara Kingsolver of children’s literature. Wendell Berry comes to mind too.
Many well-known picture book creators are author/illustrators, for good reason. So when an author on her own is well-known, someone illustrators want to partner with, that’s a big deal. It means they know how to do it just right.
Pumpkins: A Story for a Field illustrated by Barry Root (1996).
A man, a field to save, and magic. With pumpkins, of course. It has all the ingredients of a modern day fairy tale.
(I posted about Pumpkins last fall with my staple pumpkin muffin recipe that I really need to make again.)
Go to Sleep, Little Farm, with art by Christopher Silas Neal (2014).
In which everyone prepares for sleep in their own way.
Christmas Farm, also illustrated by Barry Root (2008).
A woman and a five year old neighbor start growing trees. Five years later, the trees are ready to spread good cheer. And so are they.
Stars, illustrated by Marla Frazee (2011).
A poem that thinks like a kid. It’s perfect. Stars in the sky, in your pocket, on the calendar to mark a special day. Stars. Are and Is. Beautiful.
Welcome Brown Bird, illustrated by Peter Sylvada (2004).
Leave it to Mary Lyn Ray to write a book about the migration of birds that is poetic and moving enough to make you cry. (Me cry, anyway!) Two boys in different parts of the world both listen to the same brown bird singing in different places, at different times of year. Both are connected to that bird even though they will never know each other. Goosebumps.
Mud, illustrated by Lauren Stringer (1996).
Celebrates all things spring, especially squishy brown mud to play in.
Deer Dancer, also illustrated by Lauren Stringer (2014).
A young dancer is told to hold her head like she wears antlers. To listen with her cheekbones. Then she meets a deer who shows her how. These two make a beautiful dancing pair out in the green grass, in stillness and leaps and circles.
Mary Lyn Ray’s wonderful books touch on seasons, nature, and animals. And using those elements, each of her stories hits home.