cover image The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families

The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families

Karida L. Brown and Charly Palmer. Chronicle, $40 (208p) ISBN 978-179-721682-9

Sociologist Brown (Gone Home) and artist Palmer (The Legend of Gravity) reimagine W.E.B. Du Bois’s early 1900s children’s magazine of the same name with a splendid assemblage of essays, poems, and art from Black creators that aim to lavish “resounding Love” on Black youth. A brief piece from Joy Angela DeGruy (Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome) speaks to the innate goodness of children, including her granddaughter Zufan—a quality shared with Zufan’s Ethiopian mother and grandparents, “going all the way back to our ancient ancestor... from which all of humanity descended.” Washington Post Magazine columnist Damon Young’s tongue-in-cheek “Letter to the Kid Who Eventually Breaks My World Record” (of “most bite-sized Snickers eaten by a twelve-year-old in a thirteen-minute span while waiting between pickup basketball games at Mellon Park”) finds the author wryly recalling “who I was back then... and I want you to be better than me.” Elsewhere, readers will discover Langston Hughes’s first published works (including his play The Gold Piece), which were featured in the original Brownies’ Book when Hughes was 20, along with the authors’ encouragement that it’s “never too early for you to try your hand at your craft.” Enriched by stunning and expressive acrylics, oils, and collages from Palmer and other artists, this serves as a heartfelt tribute to young people of color and their “reflection of resplendent beauty, ancient history... and irreplaceable value.” It’s a standout. (Oct.)