Black girls everywhere, this collection is salve and sanctuary.

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LEGACY

WOMEN POETS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE

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. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project.

LUNAR NEW YEAR

From the Celebrate the World series

The Celebrate the World series spotlights Lunar New Year.

This board book blends expository text and first-person-plural narrative, introducing readers to the holiday. Chau’s distinctive, finely textured watercolor paintings add depth, transitioning smoothly from a grand cityscape to the dining room table, from fantasies of the past to dumplings of the present. The text attempts to provide a broad look at the subject, including other names for the celebration, related cosmology, and historical background, as well as a more-personal discussion of traditions and practices. Yet it’s never clear who the narrator is—while the narrative indicates the existence of some consistent, monolithic group who participates in specific rituals of celebration (“Before the new year celebrations begin, we clean our homes—and ourselves!”), the illustrations depict different people in every image. Indeed, observances of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the people who celebrate it, which neither the text nor the images—all of the people appear to be Asian—fully acknowledges. Also unclear is the book’s intended audience. With large blocks of explication on every spread, it is entirely unappealing for the board-book set, and the format may make it equally unattractive to an older, more appropriate audience. Still, readers may appreciate seeing an important celebration warmly and vibrantly portrayed.

Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project. (Board book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3303-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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