A Centennial Celebration of The Brownies’ Book

Univ. of Mississippi. (Children’s Literature Association). Oct. 2022. 182p. ed. by Johnson-Feelings, Dianne & Jonda C. McNair, eds. Tr $99. ISBN 9781496841230; pap. $30. ISBN 9781496841247.
“To make them familiar with the history and achievements of the Negro race” and “To make colored children realize that being ‘colored’ is a beautiful, normal thing.” That was the impetus behind the informal children’s counterpart to NAACP’s The Crisis. In addition to the essays examining the context and impact of The Brownies’ Book, the foundational publication of Black children’s literature in the United States, this collection also reproduces the full first and last issues, from January 1920 to December 1921. Essays explore identity and empowerment of Black children and the impact of diverse literary representations. They also explore conversations around Afrofuturism and critical race theory. This rich volume is a celebration, indeed! Rudine Sims Bishop wrote the foreword. It features over 70 black-and-white images.
VERDICT Revelatory and illuminating, this is a must-purchase.

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