Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy
The New York Times’ 14 Antiracist Books for Kids and TeensArnold Adoff Poetry Awards 2020, Special RecognitionCooperative Children’s Book Center Choices 2019Bank Street College of Eduction Best Children's Books 2019Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book 2019Kirkus Reviews Best of 2018, Middle Grade PoetrySchool Library Journal, Best Books 2018, PoetryThese short, vibrant tanka poems about Black boys and young men depict thirteen views of everyday life: dressed in Sunday best, running to catch a bus, growing up to be teachers, and much more. Each of Tony Medina’s tanka is matched with a different artist—including recent Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award recipients.
A baker's dozen of artists Cozbi A. Cabrera, Ekua Holmes, Javaka Steptoe, and others contribute bold and stylistically diverse images to accompany Medina's five-line poems, which reflect the lives, dreams, and worries of male black children. Boys of varying ages appear, allowing readers to see both the unvarnished joy of early childhood and the worries that later crop up. Embraced by his parents, a well-dressed toddler grins broadly at readers in a scene drawn with characteristic warmth by Floyd Cooper ("Fly bow tie like wings/ Brown eyes of a brown angel"), but an older boy carrying a bag of groceries home radiates unease in Robert Liu-Trujillo's painting ("Payday don't pay much/ Every breath I take is taxed"). The tone of Medina's poems, however, largely remains encouraging as he emphasizes the multi-faceted nature of the black youth he honors. Ages 6 11.