Complete set of 10 illustrations for the first edition of the Newbery Medal award winning young adult novel Sounder, by William H. Armstrong (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). Watercolor and graphite on paper mounted to Bainbridge board. Average image size 254x172 mm; 10x6 3/4 inches, on 14 1/2x10-inch boards. Signed "Barkley" in ink, rectos. Early window mattes taped town over margins. One illustration reproduced in The New York Times Book Review, with their stamp on verso.
Winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal and an acknowledged landmark in children's literature, Sounder traces the tragedies and eternal faith of an African-American boy in the 19th-century South. Barkley beautifully depicted the heartbreaking young adult novel which begins when the African American sharecropper who has raised the titular dog, Sounder, from a pup, is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog, the only food they've had in days. In the fracas of the arrest, Sounder is shot, injured, and runs away. Though tattered and emaciated, he journeys home to await the return of his master. His constancy inspires to boy to also carry on with faith, while struggling to adulthood and suffering the regular taunts and assaults by convicts and guards as he searches for his father.