Meet Jan Spivey Gilchrist

The Great Migration: Journey to the North, written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist is her most recent picture book. It won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Honor Award. It is also a Junior Library Guild Best Book, a NAACP Nomination, a CCBC Best Books for 2012, and Georgia State Nominee, etc.

Gilchrist’s first children’s book, Children of Long Ago, written by Lessie Jones Little (1988) won the Peoples’ Choice Award. She has illustrated over seventy-three award-winning books for children since then.

Nathaniel Talking, also by Eloise Greenfield won her the Coretta Scott King Medal for Illustration in 1990 and Night on Neighborhood Street also by Ms. Greenfield won her the 1992 Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award for Illustration. She was inducted into Society of Illustrators in 2001 and the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2000. The Park Forest Illinois Public Library named a room in her honor. Eastern Illinois University bestowed on Dr. Gilchrist its highest honor, that of Distinguished Alumni in 1992.

My America, written and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, with illustrations by Ashley Bryan, is a Parent’s Choice Recommended Book Award Winner for 2007 and was selected for the National Book Festival also in 2007. Books illustrated by Ms. Gilchrist have received ALA Notables and numerous other prestigious awards.

Gilchrist’s illustrations and fine art works are held in many collections both public and private. Two prestigious collections holding her work are, the de Grummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi and the Kerlan Collections, University of Minnesota.

Her exhibitions include: Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Museums, Washington, D.C., King-Tisdell Foundation Museum, Savannah, Georgia a one-person exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, St. Louis Museum of Art, Museum of the National Center of African American Artists, Boston, Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC, etc. Group exhibitions include the National Museum of Women’s Artists, Wash., D.C., California Museum of African American Artists, Los Angeles, Society of Illustrators Museum, NYC, Del Bello Gallery, Toronto, and the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe National Exhibitions, NYC.

Outstanding features and reviews of her work have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Defender, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, L.A Times and US Today, Chicago Sun-times (Kup’s Column) and Ebony Magazine, etc. as well as television and radio.

Dr. Gilchrist was commissioned in February 2004 to produce art for Oxygen Television to run as a segment, titled, “Everybody’s History.

Dr. Gilchrist is also the author/illustrator of three other picture books, Indigo and Moonlight Gold, Madelia and Obama: The day the World Danced. She holds a Ph.D. in English, MFA in Writing, MA in Painting, and a BS Degree in Education (art). She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Illinois with her husband Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist.

For speaking engagements and school visits, please contact Catherine Balkin at:

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