Autumn Allen

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We Are Water Protectors

I simply cannot get enough of We Are Water Protectors. It stands out among the books published this year for its importance in our shared culture and for its elegant beauty. Before I ever saw the book, I saw an illustration from one of its pages — the image of...

Review of Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-4197-3411-3    $17.99 Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) grew up on the South Side of Chicago “with little money to spare,” but her childhood home was rich in volumes of...

Review of The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho; illus. by Jess X. Snow Primary    Kokila/Penguin    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-1486-9    $17.99 Young Korean girl Dayeon admires her diver grandmother (“You are like a treasure-hunting mermaid”) and wants to be like her. Grandma is a haenyeo, one of many...

Review of Nana Akua Goes to School

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker; illus. by April Harrison Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-525-58113-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58114-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58115-4    $10.99 Although her grandmother, Nana Akua, is her “favorite person in the whole universe,” young Zura is not excited about...

Review of Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali High School    Salaam/Simon    342 pp. 4/19    978-1-5344-4272-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4274-0    $10.99 Zayneb, a Muslim American high school senior, leaves for spring break in Doha, Qatar, a week early when she is suspended for a note she wrote in class about her Islamophobic history...

Review of Black Is a Rainbow Color

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-62672-631-4    $17.99 A young girl sits on her stoop contemplating the colors of the rainbow, then notes, “But my color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows.” There is, however, black in...

Review of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    193 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-3828-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3830-8    $10.99 Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust...

The Bell Rang

Any time I have heard an African American person speak of learning about slavery as a child, the memory entails some degree of shame. In his memoir Bad Boy, Walter Dean Myers wrote about feeling, as a child looking at his textbook’s shallow treatment of slavery, that somehow those people...

Review of The Bridge Home audiobook

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman; read by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 1/19    4 CDs    4.55 hrs.    978-1-9848-4509-2    $38.00 Venkatraman’s memorable middle-grade and middle-school novel follows homeless children trying to survive on the streets of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. In this excellent audio...

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