Loretta Little Looks Back (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; September 29, 2020) includes stories of Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family that present the vivid story of their young lives, spanning three generations. These separate stories begin in a cotton field in 1927 and end at the presidential election of 1968, which come together to create one memorable journey. These stories are ideal to share with family, friends, and can be cherished for generations. It also includes different narrative formats, like spoken-word poems, folktales, and first person perspectives to share the social and political journey of African Americans throughout history.


HATRED. RACISM. WHITE PRIVILEGE. All three are on display in this heartfelt and eye-opening account of the Little family. Although the characters are a work of fiction, their stories and political events are real. Set in Mississippi, it was to me a familiar world. I spent summers there as a pre-teen in a small town visiting my seven cousins. This book brings understanding to the sights and people I met those years.

Each of the narratives are unique beginning with Loretta, sent to the fields at age six to pick cotton…

I knew this day was coming. How’d I know? The same thing had happened to Faye and Jo-Nelle. When you’re a share-cropping child, there comes a time when school just ain’t practical. When you’re a girl like me, who can pick cotton faster than most kids, your family needs you in the fields, full-time. Especially with Mama gone.

Then comes Roly, taken in by the Littles after finding the baby boy abandoned. They raised him like their own and soon Roly becomes wise with the ways of the world…

People say to don’t let a White person know how truly smart you are, else they’ll take it out badly on you.

The last third of the book features the brave and always moving forward voice of Aggie B. …

If I dare to put my backside in the chair, and my hand in the air, change happens. Not being scared to raise all five fingers means I can reach past the pain of bruises and wounds.

The story unfolds in each chapter beginning with a description of the setting and characters—much like you might read in a screenplay. After that the narrative is interspersed with poetic pauses adding to the emotion of the story. It’s a non traditional way to tell a story but also a perfect one. A read-aloud of this story and the discussion that follows is a must for today’s classroom whether virtual or in-person. The story of the Little’s journey is truly bigger than the pages.

Book Birthday: 9/29/20 Page Count: 224



  1. The illustrations support the story and our done with a theatrical touch as the illustrator studied lighting techniques used in the theater. You’ll want to go back and look at the pictures again after reading the story.
  2. Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B are different in personality and ways. Together they make a beautiful stage for bringing history alive.
  3. Clearly shows the hurt and damage done by racism in this country.
  4. You’ll hope for more Aggie B’s in this world. She never gives up and sees the light in everything she does.
  5. The Go-Tell-Its in the story are there as vivid proof we still have a long ways to go, but we’re going to get there for sure.

About the Author/Illustrator: Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. Her work has received multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award citations, and she is a four-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award. Ms. Pinkney is the recipient of both the Regina Medal and the Arbuthnot Honor Award for her distinguished and singular contribution to the field of children’s literature. Ms. Pinkney has been named among the “25 Most Influential People in our Children’s Lives” by Children’s Health magazine, and is listed among the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal. She is included in the “50 Over 50 Extraordinary Women” noted by Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day magazines. Her Husband, Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous books for children, including two Caldecott Honor books, and he has written and illustrated several of his own books. Brian has received the Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustration and three Coretta Scott King Book Award Honor medals.


I have a brand new hardback for one lucky winner (U.S Only). All you have to do is make a comment below by November 21st, or if you’re not into making comments publicly, send me an email with your interest in entering at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com.

Good Luck!


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Historical fiction, Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Susan Wroble says:

    I love books that take a family across time, and I love Andrea Davis Pinkney’s work. Can’t wait to read this one!

  2. schmelzb says:

    Lucky me, I heard many of the Pinkney family members present at the first National Book Festival in 2000 in Washington, DC, only a Metro ride from my home in Maryland. What a talented family of authors, illustrators, photographers and inspiring speakers. Never pass up an opportunity to listen to their wise words and read their creative works! Maybe I’ll be lucky again to be a winner who is able to read a free book of Andrea Pinkney’s latest masterpiece. Thanks for a great review, Greg.

  3. This book sounds fantastic. Thanks for offering it for a giveaway.

  4. I love Andrea Davis Pinkney’s writing, and this sounds like an exceptional and different read with three different perspectives. I am thrilled with the books that are being published about race in our country for young people. Sounds fascinating!

  5. Donna says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! I love that it’s a story told through the three different characters.

  6. This sounds like an amazing and important book. Thanks for telling me about it and for the chance to win a copy.

  7. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I have this book on my want to read list as soon as I saw it. This sounds like a powerful read and I know I will also enjoy it.

  8. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This looks like a wonderful story, especially with the different points of view! I’ll let someone else win this copy, but thanks for the excellent review!

  9. This sounds like an amazing book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it with us. It is definitely one I would like in my school library. Plus, I look forward to reading it myself. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  10. Andrea Mack says:

    Wow! This sounds like it will have an impact on many readers! I’m going to hunt it down.

  11. Pingback: The 2020 GOLDEN CUP AWARDS | Always in the Middle…

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.