Dr. Michelle H. Martin

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Five questions for Alice Faye Duncan

Alice Faye Duncan’s picture book Just like a Mama (Millner/Simon, 3–7 years), illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, explores the special bond between a young girl and her “right now” caretaker Mama Rose, who is “just like a mama to me.” The story was inspired by Duncan’s own family and is...

Review of Just like a Mama

Just like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan; illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Preschool, Primary    Millner/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-5344-6183-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6184-0    $10.99 An homage to all the African American women who are mothering children not biologically their own. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose because “Mommy...

Review of Hands Up!

Hands Up!by Breanna J. McDaniel; illus. by Shane W. EvansPreschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp.    g1/19    978-0-525-55231-4    $17.99 In this affirmation of self-love for children of color, an exuberant brown-skinned girl recounts many situations in which she puts her “hands up”: playing peek-a-boo as a very young child, then, as she gets...

Review of What Is Given from the Heart

What Is Given from the Heartby Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by April HarrisonPrimary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-375-83615-2    $17.99Library ed.  978-0-375-93615-9    $20.99e-book ed.  978-0-375-98800-4    $10.99 From the late Patricia McKissack, a story of giving — even when it seems one has nothing to spare. James Otis and his...

Field Notes: Camp Read-a-Rama: Learning to “Live Books”

Leader: Hey Nick.Nick: Yeah!L: Hey Nick.N: Yeah!L: Can you Gruff?N: Gruff-a-what?L: Can you Gruff?N: Gruff-a-lo.N: My hands are high, my feet are low, and this is how I Gruffalo. [Nick dances]All: His hands are high, his feet are low, and this is how he Gruffalos! [Everyone mimics Nick’s dance]All: Gruff-a-lo,...

Review of Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

Martin Rising: Requiem for a Kingby Andrea Davis Pinkney; 
illus. by Brian PinkneyIntermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    128 pp.1/18    978-0-545-70253-9    $19.99A creative poetic celebration of the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. that also, as a song for the dead, includes a meticulous explanation of how and why he died. Henny...

Review of I Am Loved

I Am Lovedby Nikki Giovanni; illus. by Ashley BryanPrimary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    32 pp.1/18    978-1-5344-0492-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0493-9    $10.99A legendary pair presents a volume of verse worth remembering. Bryan’s recognizably vibrant, colorful, and moving illustrations accompany a selection of Giovanni’s poems (both new and previously published). The electric blue, sunny yellow, warm...

Review of Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!

Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!by JaNay Brown-Wood; illus. by Priscilla BurrisPreschool    Charlesbridge    32 pp.8/17    978-1-58089-712-9    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-60734-868-9    $9.99No matter how big Grandma’s extended family grows, she always finds room for relatives and friends. The young, brown-skinned narrator describes in (generally) metered verse a gathering at Grandma’s house. The...

Review of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cutby Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. JamesPrimary   Millner/Bolden Books/Agate    32 pp.10/17    978-1-57284-224-3    $17.95e-book ed.  978-1-57284-808-5    $17.95Brown skin, a dimpled smile, and a fresh haircut worthy of a standing ovation. Barnes takes a weekly, mundane activity for an African American boy — a trip...

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