Intermediate September 2018August 1st, 2018 | Posted by in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Intermediate | September | Intermediate (Grades 3-5)
Barnes, Derrick. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. Illustrated by Gordon C. James. A Denene Millner Book / Bolden, 2017. 32 pages (978–1–57284–224–3)
A distinctive second-person narrative speaks directly to readers to honor an everyday experience—going to the barbershop for a haircut, a universal experience for boys, but specific here to African American boys. Barnes deftly uses hyperbole, exaggeration, and metaphor to instill the story with a sense of pride and a good deal of humor. It truly is an ode in the traditional sense, but so modern, too. Fresh and original turns of phrase appear on every page, celebrating an experience of joy and confidence, while the descriptions of other men (and their specific haircuts) in the shop place the boy firmly at the center of a community that pulls together as a strong extended family. Bold colors and broad brush strokes capture both the individuality of the men and boys in the shop, as well as the protagonist’s pride in his own fresh cut. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
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