Thursday, February 22, 2018

Celebrating a Small Moment in Time with Derrick Barnes and His Ode to the Fresh Cut

Looking for a read aloud book to help young people understand the concept of a small moment?  I'd advise you take a look at Derrick Barnes's Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, illustrated by Gordon C. James and published by Agate Publishing.  This picture book chronicles a trip to the barbershop.  Part love letter, part history--Barnes's poetic voice comes through with just enough detail to make the ordinary feel royal. For example, after the haircut, Barnes writes:

It's the mention of the sting from apple green alcohol or witch hazel that catches my eye. We have smelt this too and know how a fresh shave alongside some alcohol allows for a bit of a sit-up-and-notice moment. It is these types of details that breathe life into this account.

The writing is memorable and populated with metaphor, rhythm, and diction. The language moves and moves through you.No wonder it received the 2018 Newbery Honor Award for its writing. It was well deserved.

This book also garnered a 2018 Caldecott Honor Book and a 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. The book is lush, populated with Gordon James's expressive oil paintings that slip and slide across each page. Impressionistic  jewels like this:

The angles, soft focus, and details work in concert to extend Barnes' words by providing images of the people and place where a Fresh Cut is most celebrated and providing an energy that works with the celebratory nature of the text.

This is a winner book.  I hope you'll take a look and find some young people to read it to.

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