#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Celebrating Black and Brown Fathers Who Speak Truth, Love, and Legacy

"Going Down Home With Daddy" by Kelly Starling Lyons and Daniel Minter | "Daddy Speaks Love" by Leah Henderson and E. B. Lewis


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date).


For 2022, our reading theme is #DecolonizeBookshelves2022. Essentially, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. 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

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Monday Reading] Celebrating Black and Brown Fathers Who Speak Truth, Love, and Legacy

  1. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf

    Wow, Myra—as always, both of these books look incredible! Going Down Home with Daddy sounds like such a beautiful story, and the illustrations are gorgeous—I actually just read another picture book by that illustrator, called Blue, that was similarly beautiful to behold. Daddy Speaks Love also sounds incredible—seeing a story that can find a place for love and hope within a realistic portrayal of the world we live in is really amazing to see. Thank you so much for the thoughtful reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed Daddy Speaks Love when I read it earlier this year. I loved the diversity in those fathers. I’ve added Going Down Home with Daddy to my list. I agree with Max, the illustrations in both these titles are gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: