Colorful pages introduce the names of historical and contemporary African American figures to young readers.
This follow-up to King’s picture book Have I Ever Told You, illustrated by Anna Horváth (2019), gets specific in its affirmation of Black lives. From “the very first person to die for [the] dream” of American independence, Crispus Attucks, through the freedom fighters down the ages who always knew that Black lives matter, the writers and artists who affirmed the same, and the statespeople who “worked to build a better world,” the unnamed adult narrator leads child readers in a direct address through pages of names to drive home the fact that “Black lives matter.” The litany is rhythmic and powerful, punctuated all along the way with “Have I told you…?” The historical and contemporary examples of Black excellence effectively build up a sense of confidence and indisputable value before the Black lives cut short by violence are named, so that these acts of violence are seen in proper context as wrongful denial of a birthright. Each spread splashes words in large display type on brightly colored pages, making the eye wander, then linger. Some spreads feature images or silhouettes of iconic individuals using the same bright palette. While the first pages list names within categories, the final pages offer minibiographies of those 116 individuals, in encyclopedia-style columns with small type in bright colors against a light blue background.
Best for curious nonfiction lovers or for reference, this unconventionally designed book fulfills its purpose.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 80
Publisher: Tilbury House
Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020