A IS FOR ASIAN AMERICAN: An Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alphabet Written by…
Written by Tameka Fryer Brown
Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
(Harper Collins BYR; $18.99; Ages 6-10)
★Starred Review – School Library Journal
From the Publisher: “An affecting picture book … that challenges the meaning behind the still-waving Confederate flag through the friendship of two young girls who live across the street from each other.”
When two young girls meet at school and realize how much they have in common, they become best friends—but only at school. Bianca’s family flies a Confederate flag.
And when Keira learns more about the history of “that flag” following a school field trip and a dinner discussion with her family, she begins to question whether she and Bianca can remain friends—even at school.
Bianca doesn’t understand. Her family says “that flag” isn’t a symbol of hate; it’s a symbol of “courage and pride.” But when “that flag” makes the news after a hate crime, both families attend a vigil honoring the dead, and the flag in Bianca’s yard disappears.
Keira isn’t sure what it all means, but maybe things can be different now between her and Bianca. Maybe they can be true friends …
With grace and courage, Tameka Fryer Brown and Nikkolas Smith deliver a stirring, hope-filled story about history-bias, racism, and friendship you don’t want to miss. Brown’s thoughtful story, is age-appropriate and sensitively written; while Smith’s painterly art style infuses both the light and dark moments of this story with an emotional depth that kids (and adults alike) will immediately relate to. A perfect picture book to jumpstart meaningful discussions. Coupled with back matter about the origins of the Confederate flag along with insightful creator notes to get you started, That Flag is a great pick for the classroom, especially during Black History month or units on the Civil War/Civil Rights. Though students don’t typically learn about either era until 4-6th grades, this book could easily age up. And it would make an excellent modern counterpoint to extend those history lessons into current events studies.
- Reviewed by Roxanne Troup