Jonda C. McNair

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Review of The Undefeated

The Undefeatedby Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir NelsonPrimary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem begins: “This is for the unforgettable. /...

Review of This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equalityby Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie LevyIntermediate, Middle School    Bloomsbury    311 pp.    g1/19    978-1-68119-852-1    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-68119-853-8    $12.59 In 1956 in the small town of Clinton, Tennessee, twelve African American students integrated the all-white high school. Jo Ann Allen...

Review of Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bagby Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva BPrimary, Intermediate    Random    154 pp.    g10/18    978-1-5247-7045-7    $16.99Library ed.  978-1-5247-7046-4    $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7047-1    $10.99There are two things you should never do when dealing with dragons. First, do not let them out of the bag; and second, do not feed them anything...

Reflections on Black Children’s Literature: A Historical Perspective

The ideas expressed below were originally written in response to an opinion piece written by publisher Denene Millner, which ran in The New York Times on March 10, 2018. Though most of the write-up below speaks to this particular opinion article, it has been slightly modified to address some of...

“To Be Great, Heroic or Beautiful”: The Enduring Legacy of The Brownies’ Book

Heretofore the education of the Negro child has been too much in terms of white people. All through school life his text-books contain much about white people and little or nothing about his own race. All the pictures he sees are of white people. Most of the books he reads...

Review of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Watersby Michael Mahin; illus. by Evan TurkPrimary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp.9/17    978-1-4814-4349-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4350-0    $10.99McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (1915–1983) is known for his role in establishing the musical genre known as the “Chicago blues.” This picture-book biography begins with his childhood in...

Review of Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poetsby Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illus. by Ekua HolmesIntermediate, Middle School, High School    Candlewick    50 pp.3/17    978-0-7636-8094-7    $16.99The title of this innovative poetry collection comes from Lucille Clifton, who wrote, “Poems come out of wonder, not out...

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