I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes

I Am Every Good Thing cover image

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, Gordon C. James (9780525518778)

From the team that created Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut comes a new picture book that speaks in the voice of a Black boy about who he is. He is a leader, thanks to his endless energy. He is every good thing in the world, good to his core, “like the center of a cinnamon roll.” He is skinned knees and getting back up again. He is a scientist exploring his world. He is polite and ready to learn. He is wildly creative, exploring and absorbing information. He is laughter and smiles, the perfect beat and rhyme. He is an athlete, a brother, a son, and much more. He is hugs, support and love. He is not what people call him, but what he knows himself to be inside, sometimes a superhero, and always worthy of love.

This is a book all about empowerment, of seeing your own identity and holding it clear against what society may say about you. It’s a book that all children need, but Black boys most of all, as they are targeted and threatened by the world they live in. It is a book that insists and demands that Black children are every sort of wonderful thing, all wrapped into one person. The text is a poem, playing out across the pages, reminding and telling readers that they are valued and important.

The art by James is gorgeous, centering on the main protagonist in the story, but also showing many other Black boys on the pages with different skin tones, hair and emotions. There are several breathtaking pages, including the final smile on the last page that will stick with readers as he looks right into your eyes.

Another amazing picture book from this team. This book belongs in every library. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Nancy Paulsen Books.