Affirmations of black childhood abound, and whimsical wishes float like dandelion fluff.
Seven-year-old Layla, wearing long, thick braids and a bright yellow dress, talks about what makes her happiest: dark purple plums, the full moon, and night’s darkness, shedding positive light on what often gets portrayed negatively. Appropriately, Layla’s name means “night beauty.” Though clearly an urban dweller, Layla loves the outdoors. She climbs trees, hangs out near a stream to hear her dad’s stories of his South Carolina childhood, and tends vegetables and feeds chickens in their community garden. She even brings the outdoors inside with a makeshift tent, in which her mom reads poetry aloud to her. This book’s language clearly reveals the hand of a poet. Tallie’s metaphorical language evokes imagery that encourages young readers to dream and look both within and around them to find their own sources of happiness. Layla marvels that “the sea reaches into her pocket to give me a sand dollar” and chooses the full moon as her favorite thing because “it sits in the sky like a wish flower’s sister.” Equally as imaginative as the lyrical text, Corrin’s boldly colored, textured illustrations beautifully capture the buoyant spirit of Layla, a brown girl exuding confidence, comfortable in her own skin—indoors and out.
Well-illustrated poetry of the best kind that will leave sunshine in its wake. (Picture book. 3-8)