By Bryan Collier
Review by: Jerrie DeRose
Bryan Collier, author of the book UPTOWN, shows us a Harlem of beauty and hope, of a child’s simple pride in his home. Collin’s accompanying illustrations in rich and colorful multi mediums, which are an excellent example of African American Art, takes the reader Uptown to see the ‘orange sunset over the Hudson River’. Uptown is also a ‘song sung by the Harlem Boy’s Choir with ‘notes landing like butterflies’ and a place where the ‘brownstones come together down the street and look like they’re made of chocolate’. It was refreshing to experience this wonderful image of Harlem that is far removed from the dismal, gang and drug riddled wasteland that is a favorite depiction of the news programs, television, and movies. This book is a should read for all children and their parents, whether it is to learn about culture and neighborhood or to see another, gentler side of Harlem as experienced through the eyes of a child.
About the author: Bryan Collier, a Maryland native, began painting at fifteen and in 1985 won a national competition that resulted in having his piece exhibited in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. with a B.F.A. and honors, Bryan now lives in Harlem where he is Director of the Harlem Hospital’s Horizon Art Studio for children and their parents.