Nothing Special (African American Life) (Hardcover)

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Nothing Special (African American Life) By Desiree Cooper, Bec Sloane (Illustrator) Cover Image

Nothing Special (African American Life) (Hardcover)

By Desiree Cooper, Bec Sloane (Illustrator)


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A young boy from Detroit visits his grandparents in Virginia for the summer. He's excited to be spoiled with extra special activities (isn't every grandkid?) but finds it hard at first to adjust to the slow pace of rural life. But when he does, he learns the beauty of doing "nothing special." The illustrations set the playful, cozy tone of this lovely story.

— From Nothing Special (African American Life) by Desiree Cooper

Lively illustrations depict the close bond between grandfather and grandson during a child's summer visit to the South.

Selected as a Top Ten Children's Book of 2022 the New York Public Library; a selection of Social Justice Books (a Teach for Change project); Winner of the 2023 Paterson Prize Books for Young People; selected by the Association for Library Service to Children to their 2023 Summer Reading List; Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist

A buddy story that spans generations, and a love letter to the Black family connections that survive the Great Migration.

Six-year-old Jax can't wait to leave Detroit and spend a week with his grandparents in coastal Virginia, where he's sure he'll be spoiled with the kinds of special things he enjoys at home: toys, movies, and hamburgers. As he dreams of the adventures he'll have, his PopPop has other ideas. He fills their days with timeless summer fun--crabbing, shucking corn, and counting fireflies.

Illustrated entirely of repurposed textiles, Nothing Special celebrates the enduring connection between the generations who stayed in the South and the millions of emigrants for whom it will always be home. Between 1910 and 1970, more than six million African Americans left the Jim Crow South, but they never forgot the culture, the land, and the family they left behind. In the decades since, it has become a summer ritual for many black families to reverse the journey and return South for a visit to their homeplaces.

Desiree Cooper is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, award-winning journalist, and community activist. She is a widely published essayist and the author of Know the Mother (Wayne State University Press). She is raising her three grandchildren in coastal Virginia.Bec Sloane is an educator, production designer, and animator working primarily in textiles and tactile media. She writes for various publications, bridging awareness gaps and encouraging cross-sector collaboration with a focus in agroecology and immigrant justice.
Product Details ISBN: 9780814349731
ISBN-10: 0814349730
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Pages: 40
Language: English
Series: African American Life