Kimberly Ballou’s When Daronte’s Father Went to Prison

When Daronte's Father Went to Prison

Kimberly Ballou’s When Daronte’s Father Went to Prison is a story told from the point-of-view of Daronte Williams, a young African American boy, who has the perfect life at the beginning of the story. Things quickly unravel and Ballou follows Daronte through the spiral, movingly representing his inner turmoil as he is forced to deal with the consequences of his father’s incarceration. Continue reading

Zetta Elliott’s Milo’s Museum

I love Zetta Elliott’s 2016 picture book Milo’s Museum. This book is clever, original, relatable, politically relevant, and sweet; in other words, everything I could want in a children’s book and a few things I need.

Purple Wong’s detailed and deeply meaningful illustrations complement Elliott’s story brilliantly. Wong adds multiple layers of significance by helping the reader see what the title character, Milo, experiences. Continue reading

#TBT Gwendolyn Brooks’ Bronzeville Boys and Girls

I was initially attracted to Gwendolyn Brooks’ collection of poems, Bronzeville Boys and Girls, because I enjoy the author’s work for adult audiences. I was not disappointed. Originally published in 1956, when depictions of African Americans in children’s literature were even more dismal than they are now, Brooks managed to create an assortment of poems that represent children and childhood complexly and with dignity and humor. She carefully walks the line between representing relatable emotions and experiences and refusing to abandon the specificity of the urban black community represented.

Continue reading