For 2022, our reading theme is #DecolonizeBookshelves2022. Essentially, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:
Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
Going Down Home With Daddy (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Published by Peachtree Publishing Co. (2019)
ISBN: 1561459380 (ISBN13: 9781561459384) Literary Award: Caldecott Honor Book. Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Lil Alan is going on a long road trip with his family to see his great-grandma Granny and aunts and cousins. He is a tad worried, though, as he still has not figured out exactly what he will share for the family reunion / anniversary celebration.
I love Lil Alan’s description of his great-grandma Granny’s steadfastness – her solidity that is tied to the earth:
She’s right where we left her after last year’s reunion, scattering corn for her chickens like tiny bits of gold.
As Lil Alan struggles with what he will share during the celebration, I was struck by his sister’s quiet encouragement – never overbearing, always gentle and kind. Then there are the moments between Lil Alan and his father who reminded him of what it took to see land as far as the eye can see and claim it as one’s own.
I like how this family gathering is filled with comfort meals prepared with much love and thought and ancestral stories unearthed from the past, words delicately brushing off a history of pain, as the present generation forges ahead with bright eyes looking ever upwards, shoulders upright, gaze steady.
This book reminded me of evolving family traditions and the many opportunities we have (and often squander) to have meaningful conversations and connectedness with those whom we love the most, because as Granny says: “Nothing is more important than family.”
Daddy Speaks Love (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Leah Henderson Illustrator E. B. Lewis
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books (2022) ISBN: 0593354362 (ISBN13: 9780593354360)
Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
In an ideal world, fathers often signify groundedness; a daddy’s arms and shoulders providing a sense of security, stability, comfort. This picturebook depicts fathers who speak truth, joy, comfort, learning, pride – and most of all, love.
The image above is what I am most moved by – with a bespectacled dad watching as a seemingly-non-binary child puts on nail polish. From this full-page spread, there is already much that can be gleaned and discussed by a thoughtful adult reading this story aloud to a group of young readers.
This is also a very courageous book, tackling issues of social justice, empowerment, human rights – and wrapping it with a cloth of love, awakened; love emboldened.
Ten to twenty years ago, picturebooks about parental love focused only on a world filled with kindness and limitless possibilities. While still true, it does not fully capture the truths that people of color navigate on a daily basis as they confront racism, bigotry, and gratuitous violence with non-threatening calm, dignity, and grace. I am so grateful that there are now picturebooks like this that exist in my lifetime. I predict this book to win all them awards next year.
#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 74/75 out of target 100