Review: Black Heroes By Norwood & Magloire Williams

I am so excited to finally grab a copy of this new book for our shelves! Full of fantastic snapshots of 51 inspiring figures in Black history – this book is an excellent read, resource, and jumping-off point for further exploration. Take a look at Black Heroes by Arlisha Norwood, PhD, and illustrations by Anastasia Magloire Williams, 2020.

Full transparency on this one – I haven’t read the whole thing yet! I was so excited this week when our ordered copy arrived and we could start digging in and I just had to share it immediately. But the ones I have read have given me a pretty good taste for the book as a whole and I think you’re going to love it!

Pictured above is the table of contents for all 51 figures highlighted. Some are familiar, but many are surprising and new, at least to me! The range of time periods, locations, gender, fields, and interests is phenomenal. There is an inspiring hero for everyone here! And this is not an exhaustive list by any means. There is also a spread in the back with more names to explore and a brief description of them as well.

The structure of the book is very well-paced and consistent. Each of the 51 individuals gets two spreads – the first spread including a stunning illustration by Anastasia Magloire Williams and the first page of the biography text. The second spread completes the bio and also highlights a quote or thought about the person and closes with a note for where to look to start exploring more about that particular person. Each mini-bio is a great intro to each person, but also provides the next step to go deeper when a particular person catches your interest.

I am super impressed with the amount of research and editing Norwood undertook to give such an excellent glimpse into so many important figures in Black history. I love that you can read through many at a time – start to finish if you really want to commit! – or you can read one in a sitting and then talk about them, think about them, look up more, etc…. So many uses I see here for classrooms, libraries, and homes! The book is not burdensome in size either. It is paperback and 202 pages and smaller than a regular picture book. It feels just right to hold and read.

As always, I adore and am so thankful for the illustrations by Anastasia Magloire Williams! The way she chose to capture each person is intriguing and adds an element of dimension to the bios. I love the color palette and the way it is explored through backgrounds, patterns, accessories, and clothing. Really well done.

I also love the variety of people chosen to highlight. While these could all be described as outstanding figures, these were also just people from various backgrounds who all chose to change the world in their own unique way. There is a real sense of just beginning to scratch the surface of the amazing breadth of powerful, resilient, interesting people in Black history. A huge range is presented, as well as their most memorable triumphs and some trials. These are inspiring people, and yes, heroes that inspire ideas, dreams and goals in every reader who can also go out and enact good change.

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