James Ransome: Country Roads, City Streets

Central Library, Youth Wing

BPL celebrates the sweeping output of illustrator James Ransome and the stories of passage and human uplift that appear in his award-winning books with the exhibition Country Roads, City Streets. Over forty original works of collage, acrylic and oil painting share vivid scenes of daily life and iconic figures of Black History and culture, charting a course from the historic rural American South to city life erupting in the North—and much in between. This mini-survey gives a glimpse into his prolific hand and the sustaining everyday people and American icons of culture he portrays: Harriet Tubman, Louis Armstrong, Venus and Serena Williams, Robert Battle and many more.

Ransome illuminates histories with humanism and grace, telling important stories to children and young adults from recent and treasured titles such as The Bell Rang (2019), Game Changers (2018), Before She Was Harriet (2017), Skyboys (2012), The Nutcracker in Harlem (2017), My Story, My Dance (2015), Under the Quilt of Night (2005), Satchel Paige (2003) and Quinnie Blue (2000). Many of his published works are created in collaboration with his wife, writer Lesa Cline-Ransome.

About the Illustrator

Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, James Ransome has illustrated over sixty picture books and has received numerous recognitions such as the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, the IBBY Honor Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor and an NAACP Image Award. His work is part of both private and public children’s book art collections and his commissioned murals are featured in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati.  The Metro-North Railroad selected James to illustrate a poster for the New York City Subway system. James is a Professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University. James received his BFA from Pratt Institute in New York.  He lives in New York’s  Hudson River Valley region with his family.


Preview the Exhibit