Parents' Guide to

Black Boy Joy

By Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Charming stories of Black boys by acclaimed Black authors.

Black Boy Joy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

too many stories regarding queer sexuality and identity for a book targeted to 9 year old boys

Biggest issue: too many stories regarding queer sexuality and identity for a book targeted to 9 year old boys Of the 17 stories I really found 5 of them to be interesting and unique and 2 almost good. Which left 10 as mediocre or just not good. There were a lot of magical/sci fi elements in a lot of the stories which was surprising and not at all expected. I did expect things to lean more on a realistic point of view about boyhood. This book is targeted to boys ages 9-12. There were a minimum of 18 instances of queer attraction or identity. Two of the 12 year old boys are gay. Two are non-binary (albeit one is a side character). One of the stories is about coming out as non-binary. There is a bisexual grandma, a gay brother, a gay sister and an inappropriate moment where a 12 year old girls keeping referring to a character’s father as “fine”. On that note, how can a book be described as about “Black Boy Joy” and make one of the stories follow a non-binary character. Isn’t that contradictory? The actual writing of some of the stories were forced and felt like it shoehorned in the concept of “joy” at the end to remind you what book you were reading. A lot of the dialogue and writing kind of felt like the authors were trying hard to be cool. Only a few of the stories were able to make the slang feel natural and meaningful. I really liked The McCoy Game, The Definition of Cool, But Also Jazz, and Perceval and The Jab. However my favorite was First-Day Fly a story following a boy putting together his outfit for the first day of school. It got a few chuckles out of me. Percival and the Jab could honestly be a whole series and I would read it. The mythology and story was really interesting and fun. All and all, not what I expected when I picked it up and I feel parents should be aware of the propaganda being pushed.
3 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Charming, uplifting, and fun, this book dares to put the best parts of Black boys' lives front and center. For Black Boy Joy, editor Kwame Mbalia brings together some of the most popular Black authors, asking each of them to write a piece about joy. The result is a book that can make readers smile even when it covers unhappy topics such as the death of elders. It's a much-needed addition to the landscape of books about Black life, pushing back against the notion that being Black is all about fear, poverty, violence, and struggle. The boys in this book don't just invite empathy or sympathy -- they invite kids of all races to appreciate our shared humanity and common experience on this planet, a message underscored by the clever device of observations from another realm.

Book Details

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