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Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite
Black Artists Rock! The Cool Kids’ Guide A-Z by Cara Reese is a children’s picture book about famous household names in the world that encompass different artistic paths from musicians, photographers, singers, and all other professional landscapes that lie in between. Also represented are lesser-known names who helped pave the way for future generations descended from those of African origin. Each page explodes with vibrant color and, by using verse, describing the artist and how they contributed to the world. There are many wonderful illustrations, but on page 13, the artist depicted is Katherine Dunham and it is a personal favorite, with the orange, muddy green, yellow, and black with drums. You want to take it off the screen and frame it to your wall.
Cara Reese’s Black Artists Rock! is a book from which everyone can derive joy, pride, and knowledge, whether it be learning about the love between husband and wife John and Alice Coltrane, to learning that Ella Fitzgerald was known as the “first lady of jazz.” Reese’s book makes its voice heard and it proclaims Read me now. Experience me. Delight in my words and the brilliant colors used on the pages. One of my favorite lines is on page 32 describing Nina Simone, “A roaring voice of change and revolution/A soaring phoenix at sun’s fiery edge.” This is just a small example of the power within this book. Those entering with new eyes are reminded not to forget the bygone souls who blazed the trail that they will now continue.