INVINCIBLE

FATHERS AND MOTHERS OF BLACK AMERICA

A solid offering affirming Black American identity.

Hudson pays tribute to the brave African American foremothers and -fathers who led the way.

With admiration and unflinching detail, the author explores the early years of Black America. Captured from their homes in Africa, shipped as human cargo, “sold like goods,” and enslaved in fields and homes, these people from different backgrounds fought back in various ways against brutal treatment. When freedom “rang” for the new nation, it didn’t ring for Black people, enslaved or free. But Black people organized, “overcame and withstood,” ultimately creating Black America, “a place for them to be!” Three spreads of dates from 1738 to 1831 list accomplishments that mark the beginning of Black America before the final pages relate those early efforts to today’s experiences. Hudson’s text is lyrical and lively, and the unique focus on the early years of creating what is now known as Black America results in a welcome addition to children’s bookshelves. The unconventional format, with a timeline in the middle, makes this best suited for independent readers. Extensive backmatter will further satisfy curious readers. Lewis’ watercolor and gouache illustrations combine portraits, scenes, and spot art; a hazy effect obscures details. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid offering affirming Black American identity. (author’s and artist’s notes, historical context, sources) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781635925098

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

MORE THAN PEACH

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Close Quickview