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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Black Girl Magic: A Book About Loving Yourself Just the Way You Are is a children’s educational picture book written by Zahra Bryan and illustrated by Jose Nieto. Kaelyn just knew that this year would be magical and very special indeed. She was a big girl now and would be starting in the second grade. Second graders went to the real school, the elementary school, not the school for babies where the kindergartners and first graders went. She was smiling as she hopped out of her mom’s Jeep and rolled her book bag into the new building. Kaelyn’s smile disappeared, however, when the boy sitting next to her was mean and laughed at her. She felt unworthy, as though she didn’t matter, and she couldn’t wait until the day was over, and she was safely back in the car with her mom. Her mom listened to everything Kaelyn had to say and then told her some insightful truths about who and what she really was.
Zahra Bryan’s Black Girl Magic will strike a chord in most young readers’ minds as they read about Kaelyn, whose run-in with bullies in class threatens to extinguish her joy and sense of self-worth. I love how Kaelyn’s mom’s words and Kaelyn’s own work with her journaling help her get beyond the clutches of those mean boys. Seeing her empower herself and find her magic is inspiring and will go a long way toward helping young readers find their own self-love and sense of worthiness. Jose Nieto’s illustrations are wonderful and work so well to enhance the mood of each panel. I especially appreciated how Kaelyn’s pup mirrors her moods and perks up when she finds her magic. Black Girl Magic: A Book About Loving Yourself Just the Way You Are is most highly recommended.