My FebYOUary book of 2021 is I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C James. Recently published in the UK by Egmont, this USA bestselling picture book is a statement to all young Black boys around the world: you are worthy and you are loved.
The book is written in first person from the point of view of a confident young Black boy, who knows exactly who he is and what he can achieve. Anything and everything.
He is a ball of energy, a go-getter, a leader. He is a risk-taker, and if he falls, he gets back up. He is also curious. The book has a natural beat and rhythm that pulls you along. It’s direct and unapologetically bold, which leaves the reader feeling uplifted.
I loved the spread where we see him as a scientist: I am one eye open, one eye closed… gazing through a telescope… plotting out those far-off places I have yet to go – but will.
Gordon’s striking and evocative illustrations are just as powerful as Derrick’s words. But there is also a softer side to this book. In which the boy’s vulnerabilities are explored. He is a brother, a son, a nephew, a friend. And he is real. He is honest.
He is a superhero, but every now and then he is afraid. And sometimes he is misunderstood. And that’s the reason for this book, to breakdown those misconceptions. I Am Every Good Thing is bursting with positive affirmations for young Black boys. It is a true opportunity for Black boys to see themselves represented in a picture book, something that is very much needed.
Published in the UK by Egmont Press, 4 February 2021
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.