cover image 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World

Charles R. Smith Jr., illus. by Shane W. Evans. Roaring Brook/Porter, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59643-820-0

In recognition of Black History Month, the creators of Black Jack offer 28 capsule tributes to African-American history and culture, spotlighting both celebrated and lesser-known figures, incidents, and legislation. Smith—who, in an introduction, discusses his own “love-hate relationship with Black History Month” and his concerns about “ignoring [black culture] the other eleven months” of the year—mingles narrative styles to suit his subjects. Eloquent prose passages eulogize Harriet Tubman and businesswoman and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker, rhythmic free verse celebrates singer Marian Anderson, and energetic poems commemorate such athletes as Wilma Rudolph, Hank Aaron, and Arthur Ashe. Smith also provides relevant primary source material, including excerpts from the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education. Expressively evoking a range of time periods and personalities, Evans’s bold, collagelike illustrations pull together penetrating portraits, symbolic backdrops, and dramatic silhouettes. Succinct biographical info, included throughout, further cements the value and utility of the project, both in and out of the classroom. Ages 4–10. Author’s agent: Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)