Review

Kwame Alexander’s The Undefeated (2019)

Written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, The Undefeated, is a visual and textual ode to the strength and determination of Black Americans. Word and image stand in perfect balance, working together to create a beautiful picture book that celebrates Black cultural and political leaders, reflects on Black […]

Ammie Elliott’s Origami Orchestra (2018)

Origami Orchestra (2018) is a beautiful children’s picture book sure to encourage sweet dreams.  The gorgeous bedtime story is thoughtfully written by Ammie Elliott. The story, told in the first-person, follows a young child into their artful dream, which is sumptuously depicted by Travis McCoy who uses a variety of […]

Adiba Jaigirdar’s The Henna Wars (2020)

Adiba Jaigirdar’s The Henna Wars may be my favorite young adult love story of all time. Jaigirdar has created a smart, awkward, completely believable tale of two teen girls falling in love. Her protagonist, Nashat, is a Bangladeshi Irish teenager with a crush on Flávia, a Brazilian Irish teen new […]

L.I. Forsete’s Gabe Faces Ignorance (2020)

Sugar Free Books‘ inaugural publication, Gabe Faces Ignorance, is the first children’s picture book I’ve read that tackles Islamophobia. Written by L.I. Forsete and illustrated by Gemma Gould, the story focuses on the friendship of Gabe, a white Christian boy, and Sophie, a tan-skinned rosy-cheeked Muslim girl. The two classmates […]

Shaunta Grimes’ Center of Gravity (2020)

Shaunta Grimes’ Center of Gravity (2020) is steeped with references to 1980s culture and aesthetics. Tessa, the novels twelve-year-old protagonist, is losing everything: her mother, her best friend, even her home in Colorado. She’s also gaining things she doesn’t want: a twenty-three-year-old stepmom who is pregnant and a beach house […]

Mia Wenjen’s Sumo Joe (2019)

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and I get “book mail” often. In fact, my four-year-old always asks if the package I’m opening contains something we can read together, and it usually does. When I received Sumo Joe, Mia Wenjen’s debut picture book, the two of us […]