Beautiful archival photos paired with moving, poetic letter.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dear Yesteryear is a historical picture book dedicated to honoring African Americans of the past and connecting their story with the present. Author and historical researcher, Kimberly Annece Henderson (The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story) was inspired to create the book after starting a archival photography project on Instagram, honoring countless Black Americans whose whereabouts are unknown or deemed unimportant due to slavery. This collection of photos from the late 1800s and early 1900s is paired with a handwritten, poetic letter recognizing the stories of Black Americans. Themes include celebrating the past, having courage, and appreciating life's small joys. Young readers can observe details in the book's many pictures, while older readers can appreciate the honesty and curiosity of each page of the letter. Beautiful hand lettering is done by Ciara LeRoy.
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What's the Story?
DEAR YESTERYEAR is poetic and heartfelt letter to Black Americans of years past, namely the late 1800s and early 1900s. Black-and-white images of Black Americans sitting in graceful poses or living their everyday lives, in school or at home, are scattered across each page. The letter asks questions about life at the time. The author also draws connections between historical pain and prosperity and present-day events. As the author reminisces about the past, she celebrates the subjects of the photographs for their strength and former presence in this world.
Is It Any Good?
This is an important book that helps to shift the narrative about Black Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Dear Yesteryear illustrates the beauty of Black Americans and celebrates their presence and contributions to society -- despite the oppressive climate of slavery and segregation. Readers can see similarities between the everyday tasks depicted in the photographs, and life today. The story is powerful. Young readers may have questions about their own ancestors, making this a great read for children and adult alike.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how in Dear Yesteryear the author asks many questions about the people in the photographs. Do you think you know the answer to any of the questions? What questions do you wish you could ask them?
Do you have any old family photos? Take a look at them and talk with your parent or caregiver about who's in the picture and what they're doing.
Why is it important to be respectful and curious about people of the past?
What does it mean to have courage and perseverance? Why were these important character strengths for Black Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s?
- Authors: Kimberly Annece Henderson, Ciara LeRoy
- Illustrator: Kimberly Annece Henderson
- Genre: History
- Topics: History
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publication date: March 7, 2023
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 27, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
Emotional reframing of U.S. history, slavery, and rebirth.
We Are Here
Poetic, empowering story celebrates Black and Brown history.
Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History
Vibrant celebration of heroes in African American history.
For kids who love Black history and Black joy
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