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What a Morning!

The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals

Illustrated by Ashley Bryan



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About The Book

This luminous illustrated songbook presents five spirituals that tell the story of the Nativity.

Young readers will delight in the exquisite cast of human, animal, and heavenly creatures. The collection includes: “My Lord, What a Morning!”, “Mary Had a Baby”, “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”, “Sister Mary Had-a But One Child”, and “Behold That Star!.” Simple arrangements for singing, piano and guitar and a useful note for teachers, parents, and instrumentalists are also included in this book.

About The Author

John Meredith Langstaff (1920–2005) was a music educator and author who created the Christmas Revels and wrote the Caldecott Medal–winning children’s book Frog Went A-Courtin’.

About The Illustrator

Photo Credit:

Ashley Bryan (1923–2022) grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he shared the joy of song with children. A beloved illustrator, he was named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He also received the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, was a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over MeSail AwayBeautiful BlackbirdBeat the Story-Drum, Pum PumLet It ShineAshley Bryan’s Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lived in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 30, 1987)
  • Length: 32 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780689504228
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • Booklist Editors' Choice
  • ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

Resources and Downloads

More books from this author: John Langstaff

More books from this illustrator: Ashley Bryan