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I'm A Brilliant Little Black Boy

I’m a Brilliant Little Black Boy! By Joshua B. Drummond and Betty K. Bynum, illustrated by Brian McGee (2016) – hardcover

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Recommended ages: 3 to 10

I’m a Brilliant Little Black Boy! is about a confident young boy named Joshua who takes us through his day of positivity and self-discovery. Mother and son authors Betty K. Bynum and Joshua B. Drummond teamed up to create this “boy” version of the popular I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl! book. The text in this book is lengthier than your average children’s book, which would appeal to older kids. But the rhyming scheme of the text would attract kids of all ages.

Joshua’s story begins with his mom putting him to sleep on a school night. She tucks him in and reminds him to keep smiling and shining bright.

You are like a star
that lights everything
in every way;
‘Cause your smile
shines bright, both night
and day.

Mom’s words make Joshua feel like a brilliant little Black boy! He’s so excited to wake up the next morning and take on the world.

When he wakes up, he goes to school and takes us through the rest of his day, all the while recognizing the positive things about himself. This book is packed with wonderfully positive depictions of a joyous Black boy. We see Joshua enjoying class science experiments and art class projects. He thrives while performing spoken word poetry. He protects a friend and fellow classmate from a bully. His parents encourage his entrepreneurial efforts by helping to set up a lemonade stand. But my favorite depiction is one of Joshua getting a haircut at the barbershop! His smile lights up the page as he sees his fresh line-up in the mirror.

At the end, we find him in his room again being tucked in by his mother. He reflects on his day and concludes he is in fact brilliant, and so much more: smart, kind, handsome, a superhero, a leader, and even a budding entrepreneur.

Brian McGee’s illustrations are richly textured in what appears to be watercolors. There are diverse depictions of kids with varying hair textures and skin tones. And, in their stances and facial expressions, they all exude joy!

Takeaway Message:
In a world that tells our Black children constantly that they are not good enough, I find it both refreshing and absolutely vital for more books like this to be published. This book serves as a great resource to instill confidence in little Black boys. With his wide array of interests and talents, Joshua is a perfect role model for all kids. He shows kids that they should raise their heads up high, recognize their talents, and, most importantly for Black children, be proud of their Blackness!

About the Authors:
Betty K. Bynum is an actress, writer, singer-songwriter and entrepreneur. She authored the popular I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl! and I’m a Lovely Little Latina! children’s picture books. When pondering the overwhelming demand to do a book for boys, her challenges were quelled by the talents of her amazing son who brought the qualities of his precocious boyhood to the pages of this book and to whom she remains ever grateful.

Joshua B. Drummond is an actor, writer and hip-hop music composer. An honors student and National Society of High School Scholars lifetime inductee, he has been writing award-winning stories since the 2nd grade! His current works include a Sci-fi/adventure novel, two screenplays and numerous songs. An avid swimmer and beach lover, he currently attends college in Southern California.

About the Illustrator:
Brian McGee has worked with major film and television companies around the world. His talents as a character artist, painter, storyboard artist and master colorist define him as one of today’s most sought after illustrators.

TAGS: Black, male lead, family, nuclear family, hardcover

Also in the series: 

I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl! 

I’m A Lovely Little Latina!

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