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Sometimes, you come across something that is equal parts surprising yet exactly what you need. This book is one of those things. It is pretty similar to other unicorn kingdom-type books and cartoons, but this one is “an enchanted land called Afronia, where Afro Unicorns play and kindness shines!” This is a simple introduction to the some of Afronia’s regions, and the things the unicorns do for fun (like playing with mermaids). The three main unicorns — Unique, Divine, and Magical — each have special powers (singing, intelligence, being physically fit, and seeing “the goodness in everyone’s heart,” including the readers. The illustrations are all so cute and sweet the book may cause diabetes (you’ve been warned). In other words, this is a pretty standard unicorn kingdom with one obvious difference — every single character is black. The skin tones, hair styles, I think that’s the point here. It’s just like other unicorn milieus, but it’s designed especially for little black girls. The similarities are purposeful, positive, and perfect. It’s a wonderful book, in every respect.
I think we’ll all be seeing (and looking for) more and more things from the Afro Unicorn brand. From the founder, April Showers, official bio, “In May 2022, she launched in Walmart as the first Black woman & first Black licensed brand in Party Supplies for a major retailer. The Afro Unicorn brand is now featured in stores nationwide with children’s apparel, drink-ware, toys, and holiday merch.” Each of the three unicorn friends are black and have superpowers that they use to help one another. In this well-illustrated book, one of them isn’t quite strong enough to move some boulders, until Unique’s encouraging singing helps strengthen and inspire her: “I believe in our friendship. I believe in you. If you believe in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do!” The theme of the book is not sublimated, nor is its real point — to help Black American girls feel better about themselves. After all, “Believing is the greatest superpower of all!”
This heart-warming story is about the adventures we share as a family — in this case, a father and son. The first day mostly features our young hero waiting so long for his dad to finish working and doing chores, that he falls asleep. Yet the wordless dreams of going on outdoor adventures with his father, and creating scrapbooks to remember them, is more than enough to propel the story forward. After a sincere apology, they spend the following day together, and we get to see the scrapbook pages commemorating their adventure. The illustrations are absolutely charming, and I love that this is a Black American family, with an admirably engaged father. Seeing books within another book is always a bit of a thrill for me, and the adventuring scrapbooks we get to see, of the father’s adventures and the sons, are endearing. Mostly, I love the modeling of good fathering shown here. This is an admirable book that would be welcome in any home, library, or classroom.
This is a book of positive affirmations that are direct and encouraging for young people, especially Black Americans. Each two-page spread offers a first-person affirmation — “I am…” — accompanied by a brief rhyme that explains what each affirmation means. The four-line rhymes are straightforward and inspiring. Altogether, the affirmations include: worthy, loved, deserving, brave, important, strong, light, gifted, cherished, unique, enough, and ready. The accompanying illustrations are upbeat and engaging, too.
This is an inspiring “Happy Hair” book, with brief text and iconic illustrations, showing two Black American sisters, who are helping and partnering with each other, offering support, friendship, and sharing the varied experiences of life together. Sisters can be such an enormous help to each other, throughout their lives, yet (if they aren’t mindful of their relationship) they could be the opposite as well. This book aims to help sisters (literally and figuratively, I suppose) grasp the need to support each other, and see many ways in which they can do so. Each two-page spread features a couplet affirming that the two sisters are all for one and one for all. For example the book ends with these phrases over the final eight pages:
“Regal and royal, Lovely and loyal! My sister and me!
She has my back! Keeps me on track! My sister and me!
Perfect together! Always and forever! My sister and me!
Sisters are friends for life!”
This is a book that many Native American girls may find inspiring! It is an autobiography of the famed dancer, Ria Thundercloud, who began dancing at pow-wows as a girl, later learning classical dancing styles as well, winning awards and performing on stage across the planet. It is told in first-person, from her current perspective as an adult, in a straightforward yet inspiring way. With beautiful illustrations throughout, quality printing and paper, and reinforced binding, this would be a gift for any library, classroom — or young dancer, wondering about their own place in the world.