STARRED - Theodore, Adrea. A History of Me. illus. by Erin Robinson. 32p. Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jan. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823442577.
K-Gr 4–Theodore experienced being “the only brown person in class,” which meant having to hear the history of African Americans from enslavement to civil rights and having to shoulder that burden, the stares, whispers, and racist comments from classmates. Now, 30 years later, history is repeating itself as the narrator’s daughter is facing the same challenges. By invoking generations of strong female family members, an alternative narrative emerges. This history is hard, but the attributes that rise to the forefront are strength, courage, creativity, and resilience. The importance of education and the opportunities it provides are front and center; a future of possibilities, rooted firmly in the past and the generations that persisted, is presented in an accessible, meaningful way. The book wraps children in the lived experience then and now. Digitally rendered illustrations shine with the love and pride of the book’s message, honoring history while also empowering young brown children to seek a dazzling future. VERDICT This title powerfully places history in a light that honors the past, challenges the way history is taught, and looks forward. Inspirational.–John Scott