Regular rituals can be the highlight of the week for kids and adults alike. Isaiah loves Saturday mornings because every week, Isaiah and his mother wake up and walk together to the park where Isaiah gets to spend the morning playing with his friends. One week, a New Kid has joined in the fun, but he is not accepting of the fact that Isaiah looks different from him. Rudely, the New Kid, who is white, tells Isaiah, who is Black, that Isaiah is not allowed to play on the playground because of his differences. Isaiah’s friends stand in the background, mouths agape, as Isaiah considers the features that set him apart: his nose and lips, his hair, and his skin. After a heartwarming moment with his mother, Isaiah bravely stands up to the New Kid, claiming his rightful place on the playground. Moments later, Isaiah’s friends welcome him back with open arms.
Black Boy Be You! Is a celebration of the fortitude of little Black boys who must stand up for who they are. Even in the face of adversity, Isaiah’s innate joy is supported by his internal thoughts and the accompanying narration. Short sentences and familiar word choice make this book accessible to readers of all ages, though it is best suited to young elementary school-aged readers. The phrase “Black boy be you!” echoes throughout the story, creating a mantra to support all Black boys who have found themselves in situations similar to Isaiah’s. Vivid, expressive illustrations bring the story to life and reflect the emotions portrayed in the story. The detail even goes into Isaiah’s home, which is adorned with pictures featuring Isaiah and his family in a series of uplifting memories. Myriad backgrounds are represented in the faces of the other park-goers, showcasing a neighborhood that is generally accepting of others, despite the actions of the New Kid in the story. Though this book is particularly excellent for Black boys to enjoy, readers of all backgrounds can learn something from Isaiah’s experience. Black Boy Be You! is an important addition to all libraries for elementary school-aged readers.
My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!
I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews like this upon request: https://youtu.be/9MQx-u_NFI8