by Zetta Elliott (Author) Noa Denmon (Illustrator)
In this powerful, affirming poem by award-winning author Zetta Elliott, a Black child explores his shifting emotions throughout the year.
There is a place inside of me
a space deep down inside of me
where all my feelings hide.
Summertime is filled with joy--skateboarding and playing basketball--until his community is deeply wounded by a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace.
In her stunning debut, illustrator Noa Denmon articulates the depth and nuances of a child's experiences following a police shooting--through grief and protests, healing and community--with washes of color as vibrant as his words.
Here is a groundbreaking narrative that can help all readers--children and adults alike--talk about the feelings hiding deep inside each of us.
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This poignant poem follows a Black child as they process emotions following a tragedy and find renewal in community action. The child gleans pleasure from skateboarding and playing basketball, until police killing a girl disrupts their equilibrium. As the protagonist recognizes internal sorrow, fear, and anger in turn, they join Black Lives Matter protests and attend a candlelight vigil. Identifying the pride, compassion, and hope they draw from community, the child ultimately concludes, "I am in love with/ my people/ all people," and determines to "love myself/ most of all." Denmon's textured, dynamic illustrations situate a compassionate community among murals of flowers and vines. The characters' varying ages, cultures, skin tones, features, and personal styles reflect a diversity of Black experiences, notably in a spread that portrays Black visionaries through the ages (including Beyoncé, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, and Louis Armstrong). A resonant exultation of community and the importance of self-reflection. Ages 4-8. (July)Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.