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Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (The Children's Book Podcast #424)

February 14, 2018

CROWN: AN ODE TO THE FRESH CUT

 

Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James are the award-winning author and illustrator of CROWN: AN ODE TO A FRESH CUT, recently the recipient of the Newbery Honor, the Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. And no wonder! The heart and voice both Derrick and Gordon poured into every page of this story gives it presence.  In our conversation Derrick talks about writing a story of self-affirmation for black boys to see themselves and feel good about themselves. The story taps into a universal feeling, and the work affirms the truth that everyone wants to feel valued.

 

  

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

A fresh cut makes boys fly.

This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR:

Derrick D. Barnes is from Kansas City, MO. He is a graduate of Jackson State University with a BA degree in Marketing. He is the author of the critically acclaimed picture book CROWN: An Ode To The Fresh Cut (Denene Millner Books/Agate Bolden). His first two books were published by Scholastic; Stop Drop and Chill, and The Low Down Bad Day Blues.  His first YA novel, The Making of Dr. Truelove was published by Simon Pulse which was recognized by the American Library Association as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. He is also the author of the best selling chapter book series entitled Ruby and the Booker Boys (Scholastic). His 2011  middle grade hardcover classic We Could Be Brothers was rereleased in paperback in 2017 by Just Us Books. Prior to becoming a published author, Derrick wrote best-selling copy for various Hallmark Card lines and was the first African American male staff writer for the company. He is the owner of a creative copy writing company, Say Word Creative Communications.  He is also the creator of the popular blog Raising The Mighty, where he ‘chronicles the experience of bringing up four beautiful Black boys in America’. His next book, entitled The King of Kindergarten, will be published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin. Derrick resides in Charlotte, NC with his enchanting wife, Dr. Tinka Barnes and their four sons, Ezra, Solomon, Silas, and Nnamdi (Nom-dee).

 

Purchase Derrick's books for you or your readers HERE.

 

And visit Derrick Barnes online at https://derrickdbarnes.com/.

 

 

Gordon C. James’ chosen artistic genre has its roots in Impressionism.  The art of John Singer Sargent, Nicholai Fechin, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and many others inspired James to pursue a style that is both academic and expressive. As a result his work contains a lyricism not often found in contemporary art.   Be it through the sensitivity found in his romantic pieces, or commitment to excellence in his commercial work, James always connects with his viewer.  He says of his work, “When people see my art I want them to say, I know that person, I know that feeling.”

 

James currently resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife Ingrid, their children Astrid and Gabriel, and their dog Rascal.

 

Purchase Gordon's books for you or your readers HERE.

 

And visit Gordon C. James online at https://gordon-james-pkrs.squarespace.com.

 

 

A MESSAGE FOR YOUR STUDENTS: 

 *This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 

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