cover image Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. Little, Brown, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-53677-6

“Inspired by the collective voices of many,” the married cocreators incisively invoke oral tradition in fictionalized accounts of a Black family enduring political and economic oppression under Jim Crow. In Mississippi, three dynamically rendered family members tell the stories of a changing society on the brink of change. Through a narrative running from 1927 to 1930, Loretta, the youngest daughter of sharecroppers, relates the casually dehumanizing effect of an intentionally mispronounced name in stories about her hardworking father. In the 1940s, Loretta’s brother Roly, a foundling infant taken in by the Littles, grows up to be a sharecropper and landowner facing limitations similar to those that ruled his father’s life. And in the 1960s, Aggie B., Roly’s stubbornly independent daughter, takes up the cause of Black suffrage at the height of the civil rights era, detailing the dampening effect of hand-to-mouth poverty on political involvement. Selective incorporation of real-life historical figures (Emmett Till, Fannie Lou Hamer) and events (voter registration drives, Democratic National Conventions) lends authenticity to each narrator’s story, an ideal accompaniment to the lyricism woven throughout. Art adds elegant portraits of land and family to these vivid tales, and end notes offer historical context and further reading recommendations. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]