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It’s July! Time to Start Thinking of Christmas Books!
Soooo Christmas is about five months away and I am already thinking about gifts and of course, BOOKS! As a mom, I am always on the lookout for books that feature Black and Brown children as main characters. Here are two books that I have my eye on as I wait for them to debut.
Charlotte and the Nutcracker
The first is about The Nutcracker, a holiday classic. I took my daughter to see her first Nutcracker show in December 2019. We were blessed to see a young Black ballerina in the lead role of Marie. It was a first for both myself, who was in ballet and dance throughout my K-12 years and for my daughter, who I was just introducing to the ballet. Charlotte and The Nutcracker: The True Story of A Girl Who Made Ballet History is based on a true story of the first Black girl (who is the author of the book), Charlotte Nebres, to play Marie for the New York City Ballet in 2019. For context, the production dates back to 1954.
Author: Charlotte Nebres
Illustrator: Alea Marley
Publish Date: October 19, 2021
Representation: Trinidadian and Filipino
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
GoodReads Synopsis: A reimagined and modern take on the holiday favorite, this picture book weaves together the classic Christmas tale of The Nutcracker and the true-life story of 12-year-old ballerina Charlotte Nebres, the first Black girl to play Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production.
The only thing Charlotte loves as much as ballet is Christmas. So, when she gets the opportunity to play Marie in the New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker, she leaps at the chance.
Dancing takes practice-hours of adjusting her arms and perfecting her jumps. With the help of her Trinidadian and Filipino families, encouragement from her sister, and a view of her mom and dad in the audience, Charlotte finds the strength to never give up.
In this spectacular debut full of fluid, dynamic illustrations, Charlotte provides youngsters with a multicultural tale of family, dance, and holiday cheer.
Learn More About Charlotte:
- After Misty Comes Marie: Breaking Barriers in ‘The Nutcracker’(New York Times article)
- Meet The First Black Star Of New York City Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ | TODAY (Listening to her mom in this video clip had me tearing up!)
- Charlotte’s Instagram
Santa in the City
The second book is Santa in the City by Tiffany D. Jackson. This is her first children’s book so I am excited to read it. The logistics of how Santa is going to bring you all those presents are a real concern when you are a kid whose home doesn’t fit the traditional Night Before Christmas scene. Her other books fall in the Young Adult Literature genre and are Allegedly, Monday is Not Coming, Let Me Hear a Rhyme, and Grown. She worked with other authors on Blackout and The Awakening of Malcolm X. She has another new novel coming out September 14, that I am currently reading, White Smoke.
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Illustrator: Reggie Brown
Publish Date: October 5, 2021
Representation: African American
Publisher: Dial Press
GoodReads Synopsis: A little girl’s belief in Santa is restored in this ode to the magic of Christmas.
It’s two weeks before Christmas, and Deja is worried that Santa might not be able to visit her–after all, as a city kid, she doesn’t have a chimney for him to come down and none of the parking spots on her block could fit a sleigh, let alone eight reindeer! But with a little help from her family, community, and Santa himself, Deja discovers that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in her city.
This is the closest thing to a memoir that you’ll get from me. 😉 I am SO excited about my first picture book, a Black Santa story set in my city and the real star of this operation: my mommy. 👩👧S/O @Reggiebrownart for the dope art.— Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) February 14, 2020
SANTA IN THE CI… https://t.co/GBBC7smTgY pic.twitter.com/7ryJLvAeeu