What better way to begin Black History Month than with a book review by a very talented illustrator, Rachel Isadora. I purchased Isadora’s “The Princess and the Pea” because I fell in love with the beautiful pictures of African people. I want to instill pride and self-esteem in my children so I look for books with black characters. I had this book in my possession for a few weeks, but I finally sat down to read it to my children last night, and I absolutely loved it! The story is a familiar one, but with an African twist.
First, I loved this book because it introduces a black, African prince on a quest to find a true princess. There are so many negative images of black men in the media, so I really loved the portrayal of the African prince dressed in all of his regal attire. The book also talks about his mother, the queen. All of the princesses he encounters are beautiful black women adorned in African dress, which I loved for my children.
I also liked that the book introduces some African words. The children learned how to say “Hello” in Swahili, an Ethiopian dialect that I can’t remember right now, and one more language (I’m typing this without the book in front of me). It was a great opportunity to introduce some different dialects to my children.
Lastly, I absolutely loved the illustrations. The African princesses with the variety of hairstyles and adornments that make it clear they have black hair were amazing. All of the illustrations are beautiful and provide a great sense of African culture and dress. This is a great book to introduce young children to black history. This book is a great conversation starter about the history black people have in Africa before American slavery. You can use this book to talk about rich African traditions and kingdoms. I definitely recommend this book for any parent looking to introduce their children to different cultures or for parents who are looking to build their black children’s self-esteem and self-worth.
Whatever you do, use this month to introduce your children to black history, and not just the history of slavery, but the rich history of people who trace their roots back to Africa!
Happy Black History Month!