You So Black (Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.)

Hello, friends! Our book today is You So Black, written by Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. and illustrated by London Ladd, a glorious celebration of black beauty and pride.

The phrase “you so black” is often used to open a taunt or insult, but what is insulting about having black skin? What is insulting about carrying a cultural history, a family history, in glowing features or in a crown of textured hair? Black is beautiful, strong, brilliant, graceful, and so much more. Black is power, possibility, and promise. Simply put, black skin is nothing to be ashamed of; it shines, as it holds such luminous beings within it.

Beautiful. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s original poem, a powerful reclamation of a phrase typically as a racist and colorist disparagement, translates perfectly to picture book form, with short and lyrical statements that read with conviction and certainty. Paired with Ladd’s explosively expressive art, the final product is a book that assertively assures young black readers of their value. Notably, Ladd’s illustrations focus almost exclusively on characters whose skin lies on the darker end of the skintone spectrum, a heartwarming thing to see when so many children’s books with characters of color still lean heavily toward light-skinned representation. One note: God – capital G – is mentioned twice in the poem as being tied to blackness, something to think about for non-religious readers going in. Otherwise, the length is perfect, this was a joy to read aloud, and JJ loved the beautiful artwork. A must-read for young black bookworms, and emphatically 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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