Fly (Brittany J. Thurman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Fly, written by Brittany J. Thurman and illustrated by Anna Cunha, a joyful tale of a little girl ready to show the world what she’s made of.

On Africa’s inner arm is a birthmark in the shape of her name. It inspires and guides her; today it leads her outside, where she sees a sign advertising a double-Dutch competition. She decides she wants to compete, despite never having double-Dutched before, certain that she has the raw talent. She tries to learn on her own, to no avail. She spends the week asking friends to show her how, but none of them know either. However, they do show her their own talents: stepping, dancing, tumbling, etc. The day of the competition, Africa has plenty of new skills… but she’s still never double-Dutched. Will she still be able to show what she’s made of?

Jubilant and uplifting. Africa’s story is one of community and courage, told in a accessible style with compelling text and rich, gorgeous illustrations. Spoiler alert, Africa does do well at the competition, but more importantly, she was brave enough to try something new, with the support of her friends and family and the knowledge they bestowed, all of which allowed her feet to fly. It’s a subtle metaphor and one that works wonderfully, especially when combined with the metaphor of Africa’s name and birthmark celebrating her heritage and Black identity. Thurman’s text is both lyrical and conversational, and lovely to read aloud; the deep colors and joyful energy of Cunha’s illustrations are a delight for the eyes. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved this one. A wonderful story of tenacity, friendship, and pride, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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