Brittany J. Thurman, illus. by Anna Cunha. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5487-3
When a Black child, named Africa for the continent-shaped birthmark on her arm, sees an announcement for a double Dutch competition, she asks her brother what a competition is. “It’s when you show the world what you’re made of,” he replies. Though she’s never played double Dutch before, she decides to compete, “certain she can double Dutch like her grandma used to.” She first attempts to teach herself through books and practice, then asks her brother and her classmates (most of whom have brown skin) to teach her. Not knowing double Dutch, each instead offers her their own special talent—dancing, stepping, “Miss Mary Mack,” double-cartwheels, backflips, and somersaults—and with every lesson, Africa’s confidence grows. On the day of the competition, Africa still doesn’t know the game, but she has the component skills she needs to “jump, fly, double Dutch to the sky” like her Nana, as well as “a birthmark in the shape of her name that’s always shown her what she’s made of.” In straightforward lines, debut author Thurman tells a community-centered story of one child’s determination to achieve a goal. Naïf-style illustrations by Cunha (A Story About Afiya) feature doll-like rosy cheeks, stippled textures, and a saturated color palette. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 12/02/2021
Release date: 03/01/2022
Genre: Children's
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