We Wait for the Sun

Roaring Brook. Feb. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250229021.
K-Gr 2–This luminous picture book introduces young readers to civil rights pioneer Dovey Johnson Roundtree through a pivotal moment in her childhood. Adapted from Roundtree’s autobiography, young Dovey narrates the experience of accompanying her grandmother and other neighborhood ladies on a pre-dawn berry-picking expedition. The spellbinding text evokes a strong sense of place and mood, drawing the reader in with a quiet sense of wonder. Roundtree’s telling conveys the sense of a sacred tradition being passed from generation to generation, and lovingly illuminates the precious bond between a grandparent and grandchild. The illustrations match the enthralling quality of the narrative. The darkness of the forest setting is painted in rich, velvety shades of blue and purple that melt into soft lavender tones as dawn approaches, ultimately leading to a breathtaking moment when the sun finally rises and the scene is bathed in gold. While the story itself offers only a brief glimpse at Roundtree’s formative years, an extensive author’s note and timeline fills in the details of her life and accomplishments. Fittingly, the back matter also highlights Rachel Bryant Graham, the grandmother who was such an influential figure in Roundtree’s life.
VERDICT Absolutely captivating; a first purchase for picture book collections. This peek into the childhood of a groundbreaking civil rights activist is an excellent choice for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Grandparents Day, or any time of the year.

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