cover image When Jo Louis Won the Title

When Jo Louis Won the Title

Belinda Rochelle, Larry Johnson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66614-2

``I don't want to be the new girl in a new neighborhood at a new school,'' says a girl to her grandfather when he asks why she looks so sad. Pressed for the real reason, Jo admits that she's embarrassed by her unusual name. ``Every name has a special story,'' the old man says. He then tells her how he came north by train, from Mississippi to Harlem, and arrived the magical night that Joe Louis won the boxing championship-also the night he met his wife to be. Made to feel special by her grandfather, Jo gains a new pride in her name. Superbly crafted, Rochelle's (Witnesses to Freedom) story flows effortlessly toward its happy conclusion, affectionately and lyrically evoking both a sense of family history and the loving bond between the child and her grandfather. The warm autumn hues of Johnson's (Knoxville, Tennessee) confident paintings both echo and reinforce this bond. It's a marvelous family story, sure to spark discussion about one of the most important and unique things a child possesses: her name. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)