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
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT…
- 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.
- Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B are different in personality and ways. Together they make a beautiful stage for bringing history alive.
- Clearly shows the hurt and damage done by racism in this country.
- You’ll hope for more Aggie B’s in this world. She never gives up and sees the light in everything she does.
- 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.