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“Elbert in the Air” and other new titles

January 17th, 2023
2023 books
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2023 books
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2023 books
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2023 books
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“Elbert in the Air,” is a brand-new picture book by Monica Wesolowska, with art by Jerome Pumphrey (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2023, $18.99). Elbert cannot help it, he has to be up in the air. His mom understands, and together, they make it work.

“Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement,” written by the gifted and insightful Sandra Neil Wallace, with illustrations by Caldecott Honor Recipient Bryan Collier (2023, A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ages 4 and older, $18.99).

This beautifully illustrated biography tells the story of Chicagoan Diane Nash, an American hero who not everyone knows about. Hoping that with this book, lots of kids and grown-ups know who she is. Nash’s story is extraordinary. After attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., Nash transferred to Fisk University in Nashville. Her political work ignited when she led John Lewis and 122 other students in Nashville in the first of lunch counter sit-ins. The Nashville Student Movement began. The comprehensive timeline in the back of the book, the resources, quotes, bibliography… all of it. This is a meaningful, powerful book. Highly recommend.

“Me and the Boss: A Story About Mending and Love,” written by Michelle Edwards, with illustrations by April Harrison, is a cool book about the big sisters who look out for you even when they’re getting on your nerves. (Anne Schwartz Books/Random House Children’s Books, 2022, $18.99.)

“Little Black Boy: Oh, the Things You Will Do!” written by Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Larry C. Fields III, with illustrations by Paul Davey, is a beautiful, dreamy, empowering picture book. (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2022, $18.99.) A young boy loves marine biology and is inspired by his heroes, Samuel M. Nabrit, Robert K. Trench and Ernest Everett Just. Great title.

“Little Black Girl: Oh, the Things You Can Do!,” by Kirby Howell Baptiste, with more beautiful art by Paul Davey, is a lovely, sweet book about a girl who knows that the sky is the limit. (Or rather, not the limit.) (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2022, $18.99.)

“You have sparks in your brain and fire in your heart. You can decide where to stop and where to start.”

Yes, she would like to become a robotics engineer, she is thinking, and is inspired by some of my favorites: Claudette Colvin, Audre Lord, Toni Morrison… ahhhh. Yes, kid. Go for it. This is a fantastic pair of books.¬†

“You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce! The Storied Life of Folk Artist Elijah Pierce,” by Chiquita Mullins Lee and Carmella Van Vleet, with extraordinary illustrations by Jennifer Mack-Watkins. (Kokila/Random House, 2023, all ages, $18.99.) This is a great modern day telling of the true story of a great man and artist.

He really does sound like someone I would have liked to have met. People like Mr. Pierce? We are all better off knowing people like this. He made incredible wood carvings, and as a side job, worked as a barber. His barbershop? Was also an art studio. Man, do I love stories like this. Mr. Pierce’s list of honors is included in the back of the book.

“Your life is a book and every day is a page.” — Mr. Elijah Pierce¬†

Mr. Pierce passed in 1984, but you can still see his work at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; the American Folk Art Museum, New York, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“You Come From Greatness: A Celebration of Black History,” by author Sara Chinakwe and illustrator Ken Daley is a vibrant new picture book from WaterBrook/Random House. (2023, all ages, $13.99.)

“You come from people who spoke with voices as mighty as a lion’s roar. You come from change makers and status shakers, people ready to rally in unity to ensure your future.”

I appreciate the list of names of the powerful people pictured here, the recommended reading list in the back, the added bios, and the enthusiastic nature of this book. It lifts up the reader, the imaginary hero of the book, and all of us.

I’ve got to say… it’s pretty cool to see real-life historical heroes finally get credit where credit is due. Big smiles for all of these titles. Have a great week.

WM

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