Romare Bearden Foundation

special program


Bearden, Romare. Li'l Dan, the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story. New York: Simon & Schuster Children's Books, 2003.  32pp. (CD included.) Ages 4-10.

Li'l Dan, a slave on a Southern plantation, loves to play his drum. When a company of Union soldiers announces that the slaves have been set free, Dan has no place to go, so he follows the soldiers, who make him their mascot. When Confederate soldiers attack, Dan discovers that he is the only one who can save his friends.

The only children's book ever written and illustrated by legendary American artist Romare Bearden, Li'l Dan, the Drummer Boy was just recently discovered. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. has written a personal introduction to the book, describing his own memories of the artist while Bearden created this tale. On an accompanying CD, Dr. Maya Angelou, three-time Grammy Award winner for spoken word recordings, reads the text.

Brown, Kevin. Romare Bearden. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994. 124 pp. Ages 12 & up.

This compelling, chronological history of Romare Bearden helps readers understand the universality of Beardenís artwork. The full-color reproductions of his work give readers a good sense of the power of his inventive use of collage.

Greenberg, Jan. Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories. New York:  Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.  52 pp.  Ages 6-12.

Award-winning author Greenberg tells the intriguing story of the collagist who made ìvisual jazz.î This lavishly illustrated picture-book biography reveals how Bearden blended fabric, photographs, colored papers, and many other materials to expand the possibilities of collage and capture the spirit of the artistic experience. Quilting bees, cotton pickers, revival meetings, city streets, jazz musiciansóall are celebrated in these kinetic, visionary collages. Bearden's art, though rooted in African-American culture, speaks to everyone as an affirmation of life and humanity. 

Hatfield, Claire & Jerome Lagarrigue (illustrator). Me and Uncle Romie: A Story Inspired by the Life and Art of Romare Bearden. New York: Dial Books, 2002.  40pp.  Ages 5-9.

A boy from North Carolina spends the summer in New York City visiting the neighborhood of Harlem, where his uncle, collage artist Romare Bearden, grew up. A how-to section on making storytelling collages and a short biography of Romare Bearden are included.

Hughes, Langston & Romare Bearden (illustrator). The Block. New York: Viking Penguin, 1995.  32pp. All Ages.

Sections of Bearden's six-panel collage The Block, which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have been coupled with thirteen poems by Langston Hughes. There's no attempt to make literal connections, but together, words and pictures express the vitality and excitement of an urban neighborhood.

Johnson, Herschel & Romare Bearden (illustrator). A Visit to the Country.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989.  32pp.  Ages 3-8.

While visiting his grandparents in the country, Mike finds an abandoned baby bird, takes care of him until he learns how to fly, and makes an important discovery about when to let go.

Schwartzman, Myron. Romare Bearden: Celebrating the Victory. New York: Scholastic Library Publishing, 1999.  144pp.  Ages 12 & up

In this deeply personal biography, Schwartzman has drawn on his own conversations with Romare Bearden to help us understand how Bearden was able to translate his experiences as a twentieth-century African American into a body of truly victorious art.  He traces the fascinating life of this African-American artist. In Harlem, Romare Beardenís studio was in the heart of one of America's most vibrant artistic communities. He crossed paths with artists, composers, and prominent jazz and blues musicians, who became his friends and muses.

Shange, Ntozake & Romare Bearden (illustrator)I Live in Music. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc., 1994.  32pp.  All Ages.

I Live in Music is a lyrical poem that celebrates the language of music and the magical, often mystical, rhythms that connect human lives. The poem is brought vividly to life through the paintings of one of America's premier artists, Romare Bearden.