A Black boy’s transformative day out in nature, recommended by Social Justice Books and We Are Kid Lit Collective
Rodney is that kid who just can’t sit still. He's inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It’s that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same.
Created in collaboration with Dream On Publishing, founded by Bogan, this inspiring story traces a transformative trip to an enormous park. Rodney, a restless, brown-skinned student, dreams of spending time outside and settles for being a class clown in the meantime. Warned that his behavior might keep him from an upcoming class trip to the park, Rodney is unconcerned: "He knew all about the park. It was a small, triangle-shaped patch of yellow grass next to the corner store and the bus stop." The class's actual destination is a far grander setting, where Rodney and his diverse classmates inspect rocky outcroppings, towering trees, and impossibly tiny bird eggs. In hazy scenes that glow with warmth, Cooper (Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History) pays homage to the dramatic landscape of the unnamed park, but the focus of his images and Bogan's understated writing is on Rodney, and how he finally has the freedom to investigate nature intimately and on his own terms. It's a stirring reminder of the importance of access to nature, and how rare that access is for many children. Ages 4 8.