Melena's Jubilee: The Story of a Fresh Start

illus. by Aaron Boyd. 32p. ebook available. Tilbury House. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780884484431.
K-Gr 3—Yesterday, "it seemed like everybody was mad at me," thinks Melena, but on this morning the rain has washed away the mistakes of yesterday, and there is a song in her heart. On this special day, Melena wakes up and finds that her mother and grandmother have forgiven her. This inspires her to share the peace and happiness she feels with all those around her. So when faced with the opportunity to start a fight with her brother, she refrains, and instead of demanding back money loaned to a friend, she insists that they pool their cash so they can all have an even tastier treat. The special day ends with Melena and her friends sitting atop the jungle gym together, marveling at the beauty of the world. Readers are sure to empathize with Melena as she learns from her mistakes and shares her joy with her friends and family. The artwork features delicate watercolors that place emotive faces amid bright and detailed cut-paper backgrounds. The vibrant illustrations build to a striking finale with a fantastic mixed-media sunset. Back matter includes an author's note on the origin of Jubilee and its significance to many African Americans, as well as a list of seven things readers can do to have their own "fresh start day!"
VERDICT An excellent addition to any library, not just those looking to expand their collections of African American literature.

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