Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017
There is a reason Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cutwritten by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James has gotten a lot of buzz lately. It is an absolutely fabulous book! I don’t know what I love more, the text or the illustrations. Both perfectly capture the pride of a young African American boy as he gets his hair cut at his local barber shop. “You came in as a lump of clay, a blank canvas, a slab of marble. But when my man is done with you, they’ll want to post you up in a museum!”
This book is not just a simple story of getting a haircut; elements of confidence, joy, and self-respect jump off the pages. The haircut changes the way the boy feels both about himself and the outside world. With his “fresh cut” he can accomplish anything. It is hard not to smile at the incredible illustrations, especially the ones displaying the look of confidence on the boy’s face. I am so happy that this book was recognized at the ALA Youth Media Awards and received all the attention it deserves. It was awarded a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Wow!