A beautiful story of remembering the departed by passing on traditions.

SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA

George loses his grandmother but gains a baby sister in this touching picture book about family connections.

“George loved Saturdays. Saturdays were for Stella,” George’s grandmother, a Black woman with a short, curly white Afro. Whether they spend the day out—at the park or the museum, or doing fun things downtown—or stay in and play and bake, days with Stella are filled with fun and love. One Saturday, however, the bespectacled brown-skinned boy is ready for his day with Stella, but he finds his parents (a Black man and a White woman) crying. They explain that he won’t be seeing Stella again. “From then on, George hated Saturdays.” His favorite things become reminders of sadness and loss. But his parents are preparing for something—his mother is pictured in a maternity dress—and one day, a new Stella appears in his life: a brown baby with a light Afro. With baby Stella in his life, Saturdays become as much fun as they once were; George shows Stella everything he learned from his grandmother. This lovely story uses repetition and charming detail to celebrate life’s cycles and family connections that never end. The text and cheerful pictures work together to capture the warmth and comfort of togetherness as well as the gloom of loss, which, the story assures readers, needn’t last forever.

A beautiful story of remembering the departed by passing on traditions. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-921-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Positively refreshing.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A thoughtfully layered text and powerful illustrations address this sensitive topic in a uniquely nurturing way.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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SULWE

With the help of a legend about Day and Night, a dark-skinned black child learns that she is beautiful inside and out.

Sulwe is “the color of midnight,” the darkest in her multihued family, and is teased in school. She tries everything to lighten her skin: an eraser, makeup, eating light foods, prayer. Her mother tells her she is beautiful and that her name, Sulwe, or “star,” refers to an inner brightness, but she can’t see it in herself. Then a shooting star comes to her window, sent by the night, and brings Sulwe out to tell her about Night and Day, two sisters who loved each other but were treated differently. When Night left after people called her names like “scary,” “bad,” and “ugly,” the people realized that they needed her. The stars added that “some light can only be seen in the dark.” After learning how Night and Day are both needed, Sulwe knows that she is “dark and beautiful, bright and strong.” Harrison’s glossy illustrations faithfully render the features of black people, allowing the beauty of different skin tones to shine, with deep purple tones in the darkness, reinforcing the story’s message. In an author’s note, Nyong’o shares her own past struggles with her complexion.

A thoughtfully layered text and powerful illustrations address this sensitive topic in a uniquely nurturing way. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2536-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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