Simply Delightful

To me, reading Black Boy Joy was as delightful as the first bite of Happy Winter Fudge cake with vanilla ice cream (in other words: quite delightful). Edited by Kwame Mbalia and with stories by 17 Black male and nonbinary writers, this collection is one that I simply devoured. Of course, this left me wishing that I had savored it a bit more. I will do this on my second read (and third…and fourth…).

The cover image for this book is a painting by Kadir Nelson which completely reflects the joy found within the text. The boy on the cover is grinning from ear to ear, an expression that I wish I saw more of in schools and on playgrounds today. The stories in the text are not arranged by any specific theme, but the story by Kwame Mbalia is broken up into three parts that are placed at the beginning, middle, and end of the book, framing everything else. Mbalia’s was one of my favorite stories in the book, a fantastical tale of a boy who becomes a collector of joy.

Mbalia’s story is only one of many fantasy journeys in the text. It is accompanied by science fiction and contemporary fiction. Each of the authors contributes something magical to the overall experience of reading Black Boy Joy. Many of the stories demonstrate that, even when engulfed in sadness, joy isn’t ever that far away. Whether the boys within the stories are mourning lost relatives, dealing with the ramifications of coming out to loved ones, or responding to hurtful laughter of peers, they always find that happiness is right around the corner, or within them from the very beginning.

Black Boy Joy was a privilege to read and has become one of my new favorite books.

Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards:

Identity 1: I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and describe our various group identities.

Published by socialjusticeinchildrenslit

My name is Leah Cole and I was a teacher in Iowa for nine years. My passions for education, social justice, and children's literature led me to create this blog. Students are faced with issues of justice and fairness from the time they are very young. The Social Justice Standards developed by Teaching Tolerance help teachers to support the development of students who recognize and embrace their own identities while respecting and valuing those who are different. In this blog, I will attempt to identify and review books that support the social justice standards.

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