Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African

Street Noise. Jun. 2020. 160p. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781951491000.
Gr 9 Up–Using an essay format to share her story, Redux details a spiritually connected series of experiences that shaped her life as a first-generation American with West African parents. The message is enhanced by McCarthy’s vivid illustrations. Redux examines three main topics: spirituality, sexuality, and personal experience. Her searing honesty is highlighted with sentences such as, “I’ve seen so many white people cry over a dead animal before they shed a tear or voice outrage over a slain Black body.” As a West African woman who grew up in a Muslim household, she emotes about relationships and conversations as strongly as she does about Harlem and medicine. Redux educates readers through her accessible storytelling, which showcases a powerful example of raising up all voices. The short essays flow well, and Redux’s voice is refreshing. Educators and librarians should note that the collection includes several mature artistic images and essays related to drug use and sex. Redux’s ethereal ability to share her perspective and empower others creates a space in which everyone will benefit from reading her work.
VERDICT Many readers will yearn for more from this debut writer. Educators will find the text to be useful in teaching antiracist curricula, and teens will see a lens that mirrors their experiences or gain knowledge of a compelling perspective.

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