A black mother expresses the many hopes and dreams she has for her child in this powerful picture book masterpiece that’s perfect for gift-giving.
When you are a newborn,
I hold your hand and study your face.
I cradle you as you drift to sleep.
But I know that I will not always
hold your hand;
not the older you get.
Then, I will hold you in my heart
And hope that God holds you in his hands.
A mother dreams about the future as she cuddles her newborn son, Omari. The next few years will be defined by an intense physical connection "I kiss your scrapes and scratches/ and wipe your occasional tears," writes Weatherford (Freedom in Congo Square) and then she will need to let go. But because Omari is black, his mother's prayers take on a striking and sobering specificity: she asks for his safety in neighborhoods "beyond our own" and "as you cast a longer shadow,/ that you will be viewed as a vessel to be steered/ rather than a figure to be feared." Pinkney (On the Ball) uses sweeping, expressive ink lines and radiant washes of color to create both an impressionistic mood and poignant immediacy. For all its beauty and lyricism, Weatherford's book doesn't equivocate. Because for children like Omari, the stakes are as high as their mothers' love is deep. "I add my prayers to the chorus," she writes. "Black lives matter. Your life matters." Ages 4 8. Author's)