This is a We Are Here Lit recommendation. We often hear people talking about Black Joy, but we never have a lot of discussions about what that entails for our kids, ourselves, and in classrooms. ‘We Are Not Broken’ by George Johnson is an example of a book defining Black boy joy and Black love.
The story centers around the author’s family paying particular attention to his grandmother, Nanny, brother Garrett, cousins Rall, and Rasul. Johnson shares the ordinary, relatable precious moments in life that we often time overlook and take for granted and is our Black Joy
The book features family anecdotes that we all can connect with because they are all the fun, mischievous, mundane, and serious moments you deal with from family. The learning moments and the wisdom, resilience, and appreciation of the family matriarch Nanny remind you of home.
In addition to the vibrant storytelling, there are special features within this book that add to the humor and history of Black culture. For example, Johnson includes Nanny-isms which are oftentimes Southern or regional ‘Black Proverbs.’ The Nanny-isms provide the themes for the chapters, and some of them are simply hilarious.
The most endearing moments of the book are the letters from the four cousins to their Nanny. They're so heartfelt.
Also includes images in s family album layout that add another layer of home to this book.
Johnson discusses the tough topics that all families have to deal with drugs the streets identity in this case Johnson's queer identity and finding love where it is.
One of the things we particularly enjoyed about reading this book was the moments where our identities have us navigating the challenging moments in life. Johnson brilliantly helps us counter the narrative to see and appreciate moments of Black joy and love from endurance because, as the title says We Are Not Broken.
If you need an example of Black of joy and love this is it.
This book is from middle and high school students, especially for school and library book clubs.
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