A truly powerful perspective shift.



This reclamation of legacy begins with African origins before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and emphasizes the strength and resilience of enslaved people.

The first two spreads introduce Africa as the beginning of “your story”: a continent of diverse peoples and cultures and colors where people thrived for thousands of years. Then Europeans arrived on African shores, and “your ancestors” were forcibly taken away, afraid but determined to survive. They were separated and regrouped and forced into hard labor, but they chose to love one another, to use their intellects, to share music, to courageously defy the system. Examples of their determination, brilliance, strength, and ingenuity are given in the names of specific historical figures listed on spreads that show their acts or creations in a scene—people who seized their freedom, invented things, and contributed to the American way of life. Additional spreads show more recent leaders grouped around words such as intellect, dignity, and grace. Final spreads encourage readers to receive these qualities as their ancestors’ legacy and to continue that legacy by gifting equality to the next generation. Engel’s paintings fairly glow with love and pride. Caregivers of Black children have struggled to introduce America’s shameful history in a way that doesn’t put the shame on Black people; with this thoughtful, sensitive, and beautiful volume, families can begin a difficult conversation in a nurturing way. This is a must for every Black child growing up in the Americas and will help other races and ages too. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A truly powerful perspective shift. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4875-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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


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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