Brown Sugar Babe

Charlotte Watson Sherman, illus. by Akem. Boyds Mills, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-63592-138-0
When a brown-skinned child proclaims that their skin color is pink, their mother rejoins with a rhyming poem that celebrates the beauty of brown in myriad forms: “Bubbling brown sugar babe/ honeyed and bright as marmalade.” While some of the imagery is less effective than others (“Brown smells like pinecones and mulberry bush/ woodchips, coffee beans,/ and purple asparagus”), the text overall provides a creative and uplifting celebration of brownness, from “feet/ marching for/ human rights” to “a sand dollar glinting/ on the beach in winter” and “pancakes and syrup/ and caramel and spice.” Warm digital spreads by Akem, in her picture book debut, extend the poem’s messages with stippled, textured digital backgrounds in wide-ranging shades of brown. An author’s note from Sherman (Touch for adults) offers insight into her motivation for writing the book, as well as historical references to landmark studies that have underscored institutional racism’s profound damage to children’s self-esteem. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Michelle Witte, Mansion Street Literary Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/19/2019
Release date: 02/04/2020
Genre: Children's
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 40 pages - 978-1-63592-139-7
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