cover image Why? A Conversation About Race

Why? A Conversation About Race

Taye Diggs, illus. by Shane W. Evans. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-80609-3

In the previous collaborators’ (Chocolate Me!) rhythmic picture book, several Black children each query an elder about instances of protesting (“Why are those people shouting?”), a vigil (“Why are those people crying?”), and marching (“Why are those people marching?”) shown in illustrations. The queries highlight a bigger movement, as well as the racism and injustice behind the gatherings: “Our people are marching because we have been stomped on and stepped over for way too long.” The q&a format and a resultant refrain of the children responding “OH” keep the pace consistent, building to the question, “Why are those buildings burning?”—“Sometimes buildings must burn./ The buildings burn for us./ The anger burning those/ buildings is us,” Diggs writes—and a child’s call to prayer for faith, love, and peace. Though the explanation behind the fire feels insufficiently contextualized for the book’s stated age range, Evans’s surreally colored, fluid illustrations add depth and emotion to this intergenerational narrative with a hopeful ending. Ages 3–6. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Feb.)