Meet The Art After Dark Honorees

James E. Ransome has been honored with the 2023 Children’s Literature Legacy Award by the American Library Association in recognition of his exceptional contributions to Children’s Literature. With a career spanning over 33 years, James has illustrated more than 70 books. His passion for drawing was kindled in Rich Square, NC, and as a teenager, he moved to Bergenfield, NJ, before pursuing a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

Ransome’s remarkable talent has garnered him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Coretta Scott King Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, ALA Notables, a Jane Addams Award, and NAACP Image awards. He has also showcased his artistry through murals displayed at notable locations such as the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Poughkeepsie’s Adriance Memorial Library, and the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati.

In recent years, James has extended his artistic prowess to create theater posters for Washington DC’s Arena Stage. Furthermore, his illustrations have been featured in the History Channel Documentary “Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War,” narrated by James’ childhood basketball idol, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He resides in New York alongside his wife and frequent collaborator, author Lesa Cline-Ransome. 

Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of numerous non-fiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult readers, and her work has been named to ALA Notable Books and Bank Street Best Children’s Book lists. 

Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet, was nominated for an NAACP image award and received a Jane Addams Honor, Christopher Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. The companion novels Leaving Lymon and Being Clem complete the Finding Langston trilogy. For Lamb is her debut YA historical fiction novel set in Jim Crow Mississippi. 

A 2022 NAIBA Legacy Award recipient, Lesa has received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards, Kirkus Best Book, New York Public Library Best Book, SLJ Best Book, CBC Choice Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. 

She is currently an SCBWI Advisory Council member and host of KidLitTV’s Past Present: Giving Past Stories New Life.  She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator James Ransome and their family. Visit her at

John Olson is a multidisciplinary visual artist living in Harlem. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, John began his artistic training at the Art Institute of Mill Street Loft (The Art Effect). He has an undergraduate degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design and has a masters degree from Pratt Institute. John has worked as a graphic designer, art director, and illustrator for the last 13 years and his work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis Inc, and GDUSA. Along with a love of design, John is passionate about LGBTQ activism and visual storytelling. His first picture book (“Fitting In” with co-author/illustrator Haruka Aoki) was published in 2022 from Skyhorse Publishing.

La Voz Magazine is the only Spanish-language print magazine for the more than 170,000 Latinos of the Hudson Valley. While our focus lies in the counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, our distribution reach extends to Albany, Rensselaer, Putnam, Greene, and Rockland counties.

We Latinos are here to stay, and we need the tools to learn to navigate the educational, health, business, and political systems in this country, in this state. This is the need that La Voz strives to meet every month. Based at Bard College, a nonprofit organization, La Voz magazine is an independent publication that has been informing the Hispanic communities of the Hudson Valley since 2004. We have a great responsibility to keep our readers well informed, and to do media for the public good.

Back to Art After Dark Event Page