Children’s Book Shines Spotlight on Powerful Black Voices
Black Artists Rock! The Cool Kids Guide AZ by Cara Reese
What’s it About?
26 examples of talented and groundbreaking African American artists over the last century, teaching children about their significant contributions to the world and offering them as role models for future generations of Black youth.
As a child, did you ever look for yourself in movies and books?
As a girl, I was always looking for strong female role models in media, whether in film, literature or art. I was looking for someone I could identify with, someone I could look at and think: if she can do it, so can I!
Every child does this, whether or not they’re conscious of it. And for a long time, a lot of people — such as women, BIPOC and LGBTQ individuals — could not find good role models in the media. That’s why books like Cara Reese‘s debut children’s book, Black Artists Rock! The Cool Kids Guide AZare so crucial.
This book offers 26 examples of talented and groundbreaking African American artists over the last century. Reese teaches children about their significant contributions to the world and in the process offers a variety of role models for future generations of Black youth.
Stunning & Colorful Artwork
Let me start off by pointing out that the artwork in this book was absolutely breathtaking. Every page is bursting with colors, each portrait a unique collage representing these individual artists. If I wasn’t worried about damaging the book, I’d rip out some of my favorite pages (such as Toni Cade Bambara, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone) to hang on my wall.
In fact, I’d highly recommend buying a second copy for anyone whose child finds inspiration within these pages. Cover their bedroom wall in these motivational portraits!
Importance of Representation
Reese incorporates a wide range of Black artists throughout the 20th century, from writers of the civil rights era to early jazz musicians to painters of the Harlem Renaissance. Some of the names are familiar — such as Toni Morrison, Duke Ellington, Maya Angelou and Nina Simone. Reese offers little-known facts about these bigger household names while also introducing overlooked pioneers like Toni Cade Bambara and Faith Ringgold.
The book includes artists from all walks of life — even an anthropologist! Men and women, all creative souls with an eagerness to change their world for the better. I’m certain every child who reads this book will walk away having connected with at least one of these artists.
A Good Introduction
As a children’s book, there’s little room to dive deep into the histories and accomplishments of these 26 artists, but Black Artists Rock! is a good starting point. This book works as a “quick guide” to introduce children to motivational Black figures within the creative world, those who followed their hearts and succeeded against all odds during a turbulent time in American history.
Black Artists Rock! is a true, righteous testament to African American history, honoring the memories of these groundbreaking individuals, carrying on their legacies and providing inspiration for future generations.
About Cara Reese:
Cara Reese has roots in St. Louis, Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth. She received her BA in Humanities and her MA in Developmental Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. A third-generation educator who is endlessly inspired by the power of historical picture books, she studied children’s literature at Columbia University. Cara lives in Atlanta and remains perpetually in awe of the city’s rich history. When the stars are perfectly aligned, she enjoys globe-trekking with her amazing family, staring for hours at the ocean, or aspiring to make the perfect kale chip.
Publish Date: 12/24/2022
Genre: Children’s Books, Nonfiction
Author: Cara Reese
Page Count: 58 pages
Publisher: Bea and Jo Press