cover image My Dad Is a DJ

My Dad Is a DJ

Keith Henry Brown and Kathryn Erskine, illus. by Keith Henry Brown. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30742-4

Music helps a father and son renew their bond after a period of change leaves them out of sync in this emotionally honest story. Via first-person narration, Black-cued child Trevor describes connecting with their father, who’s DJ Dap Daddy on the radio. But when Dad moves out, Trevor begins to embrace new music with friends while Dad remains intent on the classics, creating a “new space between us.” As Dad prepares to DJ the end-of-school party, Trevor struggles to communicate changing needs to someone who “thinks our music can stay the same.” Brown’s ink and pencil sketches—outlined in uneven loose lines and washed in layered watercolors—visualize the story’s emotional push and pull through portraiture, metropolitan scenes, and music cover art and posters. When Trevor updates a playlist so that it remixes new and old tunes, the result leads to the pair DJing alongside one another—in sync once again. Rhythmic lines aptly communicate the meaning of the moment: “Growing a space where we both belong/ Finding our rhythm and making our song.” Ages 4–7. (May)