cover image Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Tony Medina, illus. by various artists. Penny Candy (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-9987999-4-0

A baker’s dozen of artists—Cozbi A. Cabrera, Ekua Holmes, Javaka Steptoe, and others—contribute bold and stylistically diverse images to accompany Medina’s five-line poems, which reflect the lives, dreams, and worries of male black children. Boys of varying ages appear, allowing readers to see both the unvarnished joy of early childhood and the worries that later crop up. Embraced by his parents, a well-dressed toddler grins broadly at readers in a scene drawn with characteristic warmth by Floyd Cooper (“Fly bow tie like wings/ Brown eyes of a brown angel”), but an older boy carrying a bag of groceries home radiates unease in Robert Liu-Trujillo’s painting (“Payday don’t pay much/ Every breath I take is taxed”). The tone of Medina’s poems, however, largely remains encouraging as he emphasizes the multi- faceted nature of the black youth he honors. Ages 6–11. (Feb.)