Pure joy and the power of community radiate from this sweet picture book about a young Black girl’s perseverance and confidence in following her double Dutch dreams.
Africa’s grandmother was a double Dutch legend, and Africa knows she can become the same. Her brother scoffs when she signs up for a double Dutch competition, though—how can she hope to compete when she’s never done it before? But Africa has all the tools she needs: memories of her grandmother, her bestie Bianca’s dance moves, her friend Omar’s rhythm, and her classmates’ Mary Mack timing and cartwheels.
If Africa can pull everything together to jump some winning moves, she might just fly, but it’s the birthmark in the shape of her name that tells her she’s always been a winner.
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. Na f-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)