A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Subtle and powerful illustration links young narrator and readers to ancestors, including recognizable historical figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Barack Obama, as well as unsung people who led their tribes in their original country, picked cotton, delivered mail.
You are deserving of respect, worthy of love, and loved. Dream big.
Positive Role Models
The illustrations offer positive images of African American boys engaged in a wide variety of activities, and their families and communities. The boys are depicted overcoming failures, enjoying successes, and giving and receiving emotional support.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Am Every Good Thing, written by Derrick Barnes (King of Kindergarten) and illustrated by Gordon C. James (the team that created Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut), introduces the reader to an invincible Black teen boy who confidently explores the world around him and who loves and is loved.
Is It Any Good?
This is a joyful, fun book with serious undertones. Writer Derrick Barnes' and illustrator Gordon C. James' dedications in I Am Every Good Thing set the tone. Barnes dedicates the book to boys and young men who came be known to the world only because they were killed. James dedicates it to his son. The words and pictures show Black boys engaging in fun, stereotypically boyish activities like skateboarding and making paper airplanes, pursuing aspirations like studying science, and showing love to others, from helping an elder cross the street to offering a family member a shoulder to cry on. The illustrations are lush and dynamic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.