cover image Cookies & Milk

Cookies & Milk

Shawn Amos, illus. by Robert Paul Jr. Little, Brown, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5677-5

Based on Amos’s life with his father, Wally “Famous” Amos, this semi-autobiographical tale centers an endearing father-and-son relationship in 1976 Hollywood, Calif. Having graduated elementary school, 11-year-old Ellis Johnson hopes he’s not the only Black kid in middle school next year. Though he longs to spend his summer playing his harmonica and hanging out with white best friend and vinyl record lover Alex, Ellis is instead begrudgingly helping his newly separated father open “the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store” in a tattered building off Sunset Boulevard. Of all his father’s “old dumb ideas”—such as peddling jewels made of stone fruits and designing footwear for dogs—this is, to Ellis, his worst. But as the summer unfolds and family secrets come to light, Ellis endeavors to repair fractured relationships while building new friendships within his bustling neighborhood. Accompanied by Paul’s cozy illustrations, Amos’s energetic prose encourages pride in one’s culture. Championing interpersonal bonds, be they found family or blood relatives, the narrative also emphasizes unconditional love and one community’s impact on a boy shaping his identity. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative Management. (May)