In his early weeks at Riverdale Academy Day School (RAD), seventh grader Jordan Banks is so happy when he sees another student of color that small cupids appear around his head. It’s emblematic of the keen social commentary rooted in much of this graphic novel’s humor.
Nine young adults with undocumented immigrant status in the United States share their individual, complex stories about how and why they came to this country, and their experiences since arriving. Each has made the decision to speak out, not only in this book but often in other contexts: courageous activism as they both live in and emerge from “the shadows” to share their stories and dreams.
Sometimes the young Black girl at the center of this story raises one or both of her hands as a simple part of moving through the day (stretching them over her head when she wakes in the morning, holding on to her parents’ arms and swinging, raising her hand in class, reaching for a book on the high shelf).
“…when we made it to the other side, thirsty, in awe, unable to go back, we became immigrants.” Yuyi Morales tells the story of her journey with her young son to the United States and what happened next in a picture book that pays tribute to love, resilience, books and reading, and dreamers everywhere.
In the late 1940s, 11-year-old Langston has recently moved to Chicago from Alabama with his father and is having a hard time with the transition. He and his dad are both still grieving the death of Langston’s mother, while Langston is teased at school for being a country boy.
The intention throughout this volume is clear and focused: It reads like a love letter to Black and brown children. A gathering of poems, essays, short stories, and a wide range of artwork, the pieces include hard truths and hopes and dreams grounded in experience, memory, and imagination.
A deceptively simple board book, with just four words per page (two of which are always “black bird”) is also quite elegant. From morning to night, a blackbird moves from page to page, each featuring part of the natural world that’s a different color.
Although she was raised mostly by her loving grandmother, everyone seems to expect 16-year-old, Black Bahamian Indy to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who has a drug addiction and cannot provide a stable home for her daughter.