Picture Book Review: Grace for President

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio (illustrated by LeUyen Pham) is about a girl who decides to run for class president because she notices that there have only been men presidents. Each kid then represents a state and its electoral college, so Grace and her opponent campaign to win electoral votes.

Yes, this story teaches about the electoral college in a fun way. Yes, the racial and gender implications of Grace (a little black girl) running against an athletic, white boy are present.

But you know what I loved most about this story? Grace is ADORABLE. Not only is she adorable, but she has natural hair. And not only is her hair natural, but she has locs!

Reading about Grace made me so happy. She is so awesome. And like a little Leslie Knope, honestly. A little brown Leslie Knope with locs.

So, yes, the illustrations are stellar, and I am forever grateful to DiPucchio and Pham for introducing such a smart, vibrant, and beautiful little girl as the main character of this book.

Source: mine!

Picture Book Review: Go the F*ck to Sleep

I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying. Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep.

I am sure you have heard of Go the Fuck to Sleep written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, My library actually had a copy of this book, so I had to read it. I had to.

Don’t worry, the book is not for kids. It is strictly written for adults, any adult who has a kid that won’t just go to sleep already. And, yeah, all the love in the world doesn’t keep parents from secretly cursing their children who won’t go to sleep.

The illustrations are great. All these scenes of nighttime tranquility and an awake kid just right there ruining it all.

Let me put it this way: my daughter is thirteen and I can STILL relate to this book.

So much fun. So, so much fun. A book for parents to read while they wait for their kids to go to sleep. Brilliant.

Oh, and if you haven’t heard it already: Samuel L. Jackson reads the book. And talks about why the book speaks to him. Ha!

Source: Library

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Book Review: Nappy

NappyThe librarian suggested Nappy by Charisse Carney-Nunes after hearing a conversation I was having with another woman in line about finding a natural hairstylist.  Carney-Nunes intends the book to “affirm the beauty and strength of black hair” as per an interview at The Brown Bookshelf.

I mention how she sees the book because I absolutely did not like it, nor did I take get the intended message from the book.  I can see what it’s trying to do–link natural hair with the history of blackness in the U.S., specifically the triumphs of black women.

The problem is that black natural hair is presented as a burden.  It’s painful, it’s a nuisance, it’s a struggle to have.  The repeated line is that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle like having nappy hair is some great tragedy that has to be overcome.  It’s equated with the Civil Rights movement, slavery, etc.  Which is fine on paper because, yes, that is the history.

But the little girl that’s getting her hair combed is in pain. There is nothing enjoyable presented about having nappy hair. As a mother of a child whose hair isn’t chemically treated, I would not want her to read the book about how her hair is some great trial to overcome, that it’s SO HARD to wear her hair the way it is.

We enjoy hair time. We watch movies and talk. If I’m hurting her when I do her hair, it’s because I’m doing something wrong–like not moisturizing her hair enough. The only great struggle for me, as a woman who has stopped using chemicals in my hair, is not wanting to do my hair, which was an issue I had when my hair was relaxed.

So this gets a big thumbs down for me.

Although I did like the mini-biographies presented of the women featured in the book.

POC Reading Challenge:  13/15