I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James and All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

I Am Every Good Thing - Kindle edition by Barnes, Derrick, James, Gordon  C.. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
I Am Every Good Thing: Barnes, Derrick, James, Gordon C.: 9780525518778:  Amazon.com: Books

All Because You Matter Published by Orchard Books

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles
All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, Bryan Collier, Hardcover | Barnes &  Noble®

Summary:  Two books celebrating black children, especially black boys, with pictures by Caldecott-winning illustrators.  I Am Every Good Thing (by the team that brought us the multi-award winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut) is told in the first person by a boy who shares all the good things he is: powerful, good, creative, a gentleman and a scholar.  He falls off his skateboard, but gets right back on again. He’s funny, full of energy, and athletic.  But he’s also afraid sometimes, and “will not answer to any name that is not my own.”  He concludes with, “And without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved.” 32 pages; ages 4-8.

All Because You Matter is narrated by a parent talking to her child, and takes the child from before he was born, when “you were dreamed of, like a knapsack full of wishes, carried on the backs of your ancestors as they created empires, pyramids, legacies.”  Then come first steps, first words, and first books.  There are predictions of troubles ahead, whether it’s classmates giggling at an unfamiliar name, a low grade on a test, or the sight of people on TV who “take a breath, take a stand, take a knee…as another name is called: Trayvon, Tamir, Philandro, and you wonder if they, or you, will ever matter.”  Throughout the book, the boy is assured that he matters, and the conclusion is, “You mattered. They mattered. We matter…and always will.” Includes notes from the author and the illustrator.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Two beautiful and important picture books that reinforce the message to all children, but especially to black children (boys in particular) that they are capable, worthy, and loved.  I am sure these will both be considered for multiple awards, both for their messages and their beautiful illustrations.

Sometimes if I can’t find any “Cons” for a book, I make up something silly, but that seems inappropriate in this case, so I’m just going with “Pros” for these two books.

If you would like to buy I Am Every Good Thing, click here.

If you would like to buy All Because You matter, click here.

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