Black Artists Rock!

The Cool Kids' Guide A-Z

Children - Picture Book
58 Pages
Reviewed on 01/31/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite

Black Artists Rock! The Cool Kids’ Guide A-Z by Cara Reese is a children’s picture book about famous household names in the world that encompass different artistic paths from musicians, photographers, singers, and all other professional landscapes that lie in between. Also represented are lesser-known names who helped pave the way for future generations descended from those of African origin. Each page explodes with vibrant color and, by using verse, describing the artist and how they contributed to the world. There are many wonderful illustrations, but on page 13, the artist depicted is Katherine Dunham and it is a personal favorite, with the orange, muddy green, yellow, and black with drums. You want to take it off the screen and frame it to your wall.

Cara Reese’s Black Artists Rock! is a book from which everyone can derive joy, pride, and knowledge, whether it be learning about the love between husband and wife John and Alice Coltrane, to learning that Ella Fitzgerald was known as the “first lady of jazz.” Reese’s book makes its voice heard and it proclaims Read me now. Experience me. Delight in my words and the brilliant colors used on the pages. One of my favorite lines is on page 32 describing Nina Simone, “A roaring voice of change and revolution/A soaring phoenix at sun’s fiery edge.” This is just a small example of the power within this book. Those entering with new eyes are reminded not to forget the bygone souls who blazed the trail that they will now continue.

Pikasho Deka

Black Artists Rock! sub-titled The Cool Kids' Guide A-Z by Cara Reese is a children's picture book that celebrates the rich legacy and heritage left by some of the most talented African American artists of the 20th century. Everyone knows about the unshakeable truth seeping out of Maya Angelou's verses or Jimi Hendrix's powerful guitar riffs that could melt one's heart and make one cry. But have you ever heard about Jacob Lawrence, an epic painter and muralist who narrated African American migration through his art and pioneered "dynamic cubism," or Toni Morrison, a literary wordsmith who won both the Pulitzer and a Nobel prize, or Oscar Micheaux, one of the first Black filmmakers in America who produced and directed his own films? Learn about these true greats and visionaries who shaped the cultural heritage of America and forged an undeniable legacy.

Black Artists Rock! sheds light on some of those African American artists and pioneers whose names you may not have heard but whose influence on arts and culture in the 20th century can be felt to this very day. Cara Reese highlights the achievements and accomplishments of some of the most talented people of the last century through this captivating picture book that is not only educational but also engaging and sheer fun to read. Each snippet about an artist is complemented by related artwork and illustrations that showcase the artist's expertise. I found the book both illuminating and immersive. Recommended to kids and adults alike.

Laura Imaz

Through its fantastic images and lyrical language, Cara Reese's Black Artists Rock! The Cool Kids' Guide A-Z acknowledges several outstanding Black artists. Along with mentioning well-known performers like Nina Simone and Maya Angelou, it also honors lesser-known but brilliant musicians who might otherwise have gone unrecognized by the general public. Moreover, it examines notable figures in literature, theater, and other disciplines in addition to the most popular fields of music and film. This book offers the ideal chance to learn a lot about African American creativity because of the entertaining presentation of each individual. The intricate and gorgeous drawings only improve the educational process and serve as a fantastic motivation for young readers as well as those who are easily bored while reading a lot of text.

Black Artists Rock! is a visually appealing picture book that examines the achievements and legacies of various Black artists that have inspired countless numbers of people throughout the years. Cara Reese's writing is lyrical and upbeat, and it is successful in reaching a variety of readers. The interesting trivia it provides about world-renowned people pleasantly surprised me. I think it's important to draw attention to the abundance of artwork that gives each figure a distinct and individual portrayal, helping to humanize such a legacy. The reading experience is greatly improved by the cheery color scheme. I particularly liked the book and appreciated the importance it provides to Black artists, a group that has received little recognition historically.