A labor of love itself, this picture book delivers readers to an early time and leaves them feeling as warm and sun-kissed...

READ REVIEW

MONDAY IS WASH DAY

Two sisters help with the week’s laundry in an era when doing the wash required much more than the quick turn of a knob.

“First we work and then we play,” says their mother. With a sigh, the girls cheerfully begin. Young readers might initially blanch. The dark-haired, light-skinned girls sort heaps of dirty clothes, haul buckets of water to the back porch (hot for the washer, cold for the rinse tubs), dump in soap, feed dripping garments through a wringer, rub their numb hands, and then hang the entire load on a line to dry with pins. Quickly, a fascination, appreciation, and perhaps even envy for this laborious weekly task will bloom inside modern children’s Oxy-cleaned chests. The girls find jokes, teasing, and closeness in their work alongside Mama—and just ahead of their stumbling baby brother. Will he help with the wash when he grows bigger? Cut-paper collages, in the soft colors of beloved faded clothes, bring dated domestic scenes into engaging immediacy with their clever crinkles, folds, layers, and gentle pencil work. Such carefully snipped and assembled artwork (wrinkled shirts, pleated dresses, tiny tea pots) conjures the magic found in the tenuousness of a precious paper-doll chain.

A labor of love itself, this picture book delivers readers to an early time and leaves them feeling as warm and sun-kissed as a sheet fresh off the line. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9913866-6-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Ripple Grove

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration...

HANDS UP!

This picture book offers a different take on a black body raising “hands up.”

Vibrant, colorfully textured illustrations show different displays of black children raising hands, such as playing peekaboo, getting dressed, and other mundane activities. The book follows one little girl as she puts her hands up to do chores, to reach for books on a high shelf at the library, and even to assume the fifth position in ballet class. She holds up her bun as her grandmother does her hair, throws her arms up “in praise and worship,” and hoists a trophy after a victorious basketball game. Riding her bike with her hands up results in a fall, but there is a caring adult there to pick her back up. McDaniel sends a positive and affirming message that normalizes for black children the gesture of raising their hands, redeeming it from the very negative, haunting images of black people raising their hands while being confronted by police. The book closes with a bold illustration of children of all colors raising their hands and holding signs such as “Water = Life,” “Spread Love,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Evans employs a pastel palette that amplifies McDaniel’s sunny message. Outlines are done in purple, blue, brown—there are no literally black marks in this book.

A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration of their humanity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55231-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children.

BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR

A young black child ponders the colors in the rainbow and a crayon box and realizes that while black is not a color in the rainbow, black culture is a rainbow of its own.

In bright paints and collage, Holmes shows the rainbow of black skin tones on each page while Joy’s text describes what “Black is” physically and culturally. It ranges from the concrete, such as “the braids in my best friend’s hair,” to the conceptual: “Black is soft-singing, ‘Hush now, don’t explain’ ”—a reference to the song “Don’t Explain” made popular by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, the former depicted in full song with her signature camellia and the latter at her piano. Joy alludes throughout the brief text to poetry, music, figures, and events in black history, and several pages of backmatter supply the necessary context for caregivers who need a little extra help explaining them to listeners. Additionally, there is a playlist of songs to accompany reading as well as three poems: “Harlem,” by Langston Hughes, and “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The author also includes a historical timeline describing some of the names that have been used to describe and label black people in the United States since 1619.

Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-631-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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