A richly illustrated collective biography of 52 black icons, from the well-known to the less familiar.
In the opening author’s note, the purpose of the volume is made clear: “All children deserve to see themselves represented positively in stories. That’s why we’re highlighting the talent and contributions of black changemakers from around the world—for readers of all backgrounds to discover”—a worthwhile goal exquisitely executed. This diverse collection of iconic figures includes film directors, politicians, writers, athletes, musicians, scientists, and leaders, among others. In no apparent order, subjects profiled range from those born in the 1800s to those born more recently, after the turn of the 20th century, who make up the majority of the 52. Most icons occupy one half of a double-page spread that’s unified by colors, designs, and patterns in the art. The colorful and dynamic images often use shapes and imagery to portray the subjects as crowned or haloed (as in the angelic halo, partially made of piano keys, that adorns Nina Simone). Each vibrantly illustrated minibio includes either the person’s nickname or words they are known by in bold, their birth and death dates (if deceased), and the place of their birth. The inclusion of non-American black icons is notable and commendable—especially that of Australian Aboriginal “Champion Sprinter” Cathy Freeman.
A beautifully crafted volume that can serve either as an introduction to these figures or as a supplementary text. (glossary) (Collective biography. 9-14)