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LEGACY

WOMEN POETS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE

Black girls everywhere, this collection is salve and sanctuary.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2021


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

Grimes’ new collection of poems weaves a contemporary Black feminist impulse while recovering the underappreciated contributions of Harlem Renaissance women poets.

Winner of both the Children’s Literature Legacy Award and the ALAN Award, Grimes continues to deliver distinctively situated, heart-filled offerings that tie together generations of Black artistic excellence aimed at incubating positive social change. Here her focus turns toward less-well-known women poets of the early 20th century, women like Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Gwendolyn Bennett, Mae V. Cowdery, Anne Spencer, Effie Lee Newsome, Esther Popel, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson. To their poems included here, Grimes adds her own. These are done in the form of the Golden Shovel, invented by poet Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, and they brilliantly resample the words of the women’s works. All, both collected and Grimes’, decidedly emerge from the experiences and worldviews of Black women and girls. They emphasize an ethos of care for oneself, one’s communities, and the Earth together for the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. Accompanying them are contributions from an all-star cast of Black women illustrators, empowering artworks that could be at home in a museum. This book is exquisitely rendered. After more than 77 books, Grimes remains as inspired as ever, drawing on the historic strength of Black women’s brilliance to give a timely, healing mirror to a new generation of readers. The ancestors are proud.

Black girls everywhere, this collection is salve and sanctuary. (author biographies, illustrator biographies) (Poetry. 9-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68119-944-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

BIG APPLE DIARIES

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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