A boy gets to portray a hero in Powe’s picture-book introduction to several Black figures from U.S. history.
Young Sean Moses is excited about his role in his school’s Black History Month program, and he makes his parents guess whom he’ll be portraying during a speech. As his parents mention different historical figures—Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and others—the narrative offers short biographies of each, and illustrator Valieva depicts each historical figure with Sean Moses’ youthful face. Afterward, the child finally reveals his role: “I’m Martin Luther, the king!” When his mother asks why Sean Moses thinks King was an actual monarch, Sean Moses declares, “Because his dream came true.” Powe presents a hopeful narrative in this cleverly structured book, which also includes portraits of such men as Frederick Douglass and President Barack Obama. Each biography includes an inspirational quote from the person described and discusses his greatest achievements. Sean Moses’ own story features short sentences that will be readily accessible to younger readers, while the biographies use vocabulary that’s more complex. In Valieva’s beautiful black-and-white images, Sean Moses and his family members all appear Black; Sean Moses’ fellow students appear to have a range of skin tones.
A well-illustrated tale that’s also a great pick to expand libraries’ Black history sections.