A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The poem connects the relationship between people of the African diaspora and their hair in terms of their history of being uprooted and conditioned to erase the physical features of their people and conform to White beauty standards.
Love yourself deeply and unconditionally. You are whole and worthy of love just as you are.
Positive Role Models
The speaker of the poem and the people depicted in the illustrations are positively portrayed Black and Afro-Latino men and women of varying skin tones, with diverse hair types in natural styles as well as conventional styles.
The poem celebrates and critiques Afro- Latinidad culture. It includes Spanish words and mentions an orange-juice-and-milk drink ("morir sonando, or "die dreaming") popular in the author's home country, the Dominican Republic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One line in the poem could be interpreted as a reference to lovemaking. The illustration depicts this with a hug.
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The term "un prieto cocolo" appears, which the narrator reports is used by her family as a slur meaning "Black man," referring to people with darker skin and more African features.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inheritance: A Visual Poem, by Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X), winner of the Pura Belpré Award), is an illustrated version of her spoken-word poem "Hair," which went viral on social media. Colorful illustrations by Andrea Pippins, influenced by graphic design and poster art, incorporate the words of the poem in handwriting typefaces. The term "un prieto cocolo" appears, which the narrator laments is used by her family as a slur meaning "Black man," referring to people with darker skin and more African features. There's one line that could be interpreted as a reference to lovemaking accompanied by an illustration that depicts a hug.
Is It Any Good?
This beautiful book makes a bold statement. In Inheritance: A Visual Poem, Elizabeth Acevedo collaborates with illustrator Andrea Pippins on an illustrated version of her spoken word poem "Hair," which went viral on social media. The poem expresses the Afro-Latina narrator's determination to resist pressure to distance herself from her African heritage, both in her refusal to straighten her hair and in her love relationship with a Black man who has African features and dark skin.
The illustration style is influenced by graphic design and resembles poster art. The art does more than just represent the words; it amplifies meaning. For example, the illustration that accompanies the line "Some call them wild curls, but I call them breathing, antecedents spiraling" portrays curly locks of hair as breaths or voices coming out of mouths.
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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.
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