Fuzzy Elementary Reviews

Age: 8-12

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot is an amazing journey through Brooklyn and other worlds with Jaxon, aka, Jax. It starts with this courageous boy being dropped off to spend the day with an old woman everyone calls Ma, who turns out to be a witch! Filled with amazing scenes, mythical creatures and plenty of magic, this book is a must read for any magical adventurer, but the wonderful part, the excellent part, the part that made it all the more interesting to us, is that Jaxon, Ma, Vikram, Kavita and so many other characters are  paper bag , pecan , rich earth , so many other shades of melanin. This is a definite love for any fuzzy-head, searching for the magic in their everyday world.

Pick up a copy by clicking on the picture and simultaneously helping support our website! 

Age: 4-8

Caron Levi’s Stop That Yawn is a delightful book that just so happens to feature Gabby Wild and her grandmother, two brown-skinned non-sleeping night owls. When we say that this book was amazing?! It’s absolutely perfect for the bedtime procrastinators, inclusive, has family relationships AND imagination. We don’t want to call it perfect, but it kind of is.

Scene: It’s bedtime, and Gabby doesn’t want to go to sleep, so she and her grandmother go on an adventure to Never Sleeping City. It is an amazing trip with beautiful graphics, and the best part for our fuzzy heads is that Gabby has the wild, fuzzy hair we love.

Pick up a copy by following the link in the picture and help support our website!

Age: 4-9

It has been nearly twenty years since Michael Jordan’s mother and sister, Deloris and Roslyn Jordan, wrote Salt in His Shoes, but the story’s tale of perseverance, hard work, and patience is a classic tale.

Salt in His Shoes tells the tale of Michael Jordan as an adolescent, short, easily beat on the basketball court, and constantly wishing he could just be a little bit taller so that he could help his brother’s win on the basketball court. We won’t spoil the story, but it is an amazingly well done rendition of Michael’s life, not as a superstar athlete, but as the person he was before he became a pro basketball player. 

Fuzzy Afro Logic likes this book because it allows our children to see a successful person as one of them, rather than as someone to aspire to “grow up to be like.” Instead, we get to see that everyone was a child once, and everyone dealt with the same issues. In this case, Michael really was wishing “he could be a little bit taller” and a baller. 

Click the picture and slide on over to Amazon to grab a copy and help support our website!

Age: 3-7

In the mission to normalize ethnic representation in kid’s books, you may not always end up with a book about just ONE ethnic child. Instead, you may end up with a diverse book such as The Hike by Alison Farrell. 

The Hike follows Wren, El, and Hattie, who are off on a hike, through woods and up mountains, with their dog, Bean. The book is filled with amazing illustrations of wildlife and foliage, each named and clearly able to be memorized. We love it for this and for its inclusive representation.

Our staff did discuss a few things that we thought may be perceived as micro aggressions , but we state this as a disclaimer in case you notice them. We do not want to detract from the book’s value and the amazing fact that it is a diverse science book that not only recognizes girl power, but sees no difference in race. Instead, Alison Farrell found a way to show how the girls, each smaller or larger than the other are each smart and capable in their own way. It is an amazing read with plenty to learn each time you open it. We can’t wait to make a leaf basket in the summer.

Pick up a copy by clicking on the main image!

Age: 4-9

We love the ambiguity of the race of Rocco, the main character in John Rocco’s Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom. While there is representation of all kinds of hues of sin, the main character could be anyone. Well, anyone with huge hair, that is. 

Rocco is an adorable kid with giant hair, which to our test subjects, translated to a giant afro, and his friends, asian, black, and white, all have wildly free hair, as well. This is what gives them SUPER POWERS. But one day, Rocco and his friends are forced to get hair cuts. Will their super powers survive? Will they go on to live powerless lives? Click the image above to buy a copy and find out!

Age: 4-8

Norman’s owner wants a pet, a real pet. Not Norman, the gold fish. Thus, begins an adventure into pet ownership. 

The little boy, who never identifies himself, checks out all different kinds of pets, but none of them fit as well or do as much for him as Norman does. Not Norman helps children with the old adage of “the grass is greener on the other side,” and we love it. We think you’ll love it too.

Pick up a copy by selecting the link above.

Age: 4-8

Is science just modern magic? Is magic just science with a different label? Ashley Spires has created a combination of both worlds with Fairy Science, the story of Esther, the fact-minded fairy!

Fairy Science is perfect for introducing your child to STEM. Not only does the story follow a hypothesis, but a science experiment is provided in the back after the tale. One thing we loved about this text is that Esther and several other fairies in this book are of varying shades of melanin persuasion. There is no focus on their skin color (we love this), which is perfect for the concept of normalizing ethnic  representation in our children’s books!

Pick up a copy by selecting the link in the picture above!

Age: 4-8

From visual literacy to coping with other people’s perception of you, from struggling through the rain to finally arriving where you belong, Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney is an incredibly detailed book of few words, but many, many, lessons.

Anyone who has conversed with the staff over here at Fuzzy Afro Logic is well aware of how important visual literacy is us. As with many of the aspects of literacy that we focus on, visual literacy is a real and much needed skill for both children and adults. Visual literacy helps with awareness of surroundings, critical and out-of-the-box thinking, and other aspects of visual interpretation. This is why, we would like you to pick up Double Bass Blues.

While Double Bass Blues  is about music and playing the bass, it is also about boyhood, and focus through adversity. The book follows Nic, a talented, ethnic bass player from a school performance to his final destination. Nic is admired, praised, ridiculed, and welcomed, all within the space of a few pages, but much of these interactions are told through the illustrations. Rife with color, space and lines that can be analyzed for hours, Double Bass Blues is the definition of Brian Kennedy’s visual literacy rules: Look, See, Describe, Analyze and Interpret.

Click on the image for a copy, and help support our website.

Cover of Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte
Age: 4-8

Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte is the story Carlitos, a young Puerto Rican boy who takes a ferry across the bay to find his father. The storyline is a bit confusing, as if you remove the lush imagery and depictions of multi-hued shades of melanin, you are left with a tale of a child who has left home without telling his mother, taken a ferry alone, and is running around with a picture of his father, asking strangers if they know this man. Anything could have happened to him, and the author seems to have handled this very flippantly, but we think this book is a great conversation starter.

Across the Bay provides all kinds of lessons. Responsibility of self, the necessity of your parents knowing where you are going, absentee parents, either by choice or not, and so much more.

Age: 8-12

Molly Knox Ostertag has created a brilliant dialogue with her graphic novel, The Witch Boy. This book is perfect for older elementary students or tweens. In a society where boys and girls both have a strict path, thirteen-year-old Aster is not ready to conform. Aster is supposed to become a shape shifter, but all he wants to do is learn magic. When something happens that threatens the lives of all of the boys in his village, Aster must step up and let the world know what he has been secretly learning. Filled with twists and turns, but a very straight forward story line, The Witch Boy is a beautiful story that shows what happens when you question gender roles, or perhaps just don’t have them. 

Fuzzy loves this series. Aster’s parents appear to be black and white, but race is not discussed. Aster is the perfect blend between them, a darker skin tone than his mother but with her reddish hair, and a lighter skin tone than his father. Aster is surrounded by people of various ethnicities, but we especially loved his budding friendship with Charlie, a possibly African American girl with definitive “black” features and hair, who is non-magical, and non-conforming in all of the best ways.

Pick up a copy on Amazon of The Witch Boy by selecting the main picture. We found it there for two bucks cheaper

Age: 5-7

Antonio Sacre’s A Mango in the Hand is a wonderful book that tells the story of a little boy named Francisco. While the story is filled with proverbs that teach children about perseverance, giving, and other values, the storyteller avoids being preachy and overly moralistic by creating an engaging tale through the adversity Francisco goes through.

It is Francisco’s name day, and all he wants are sweet, ripe mangoes from the mango tree. His papa allows him to go acquire the mangoes on his own, and when Francisco fails, he sends the boy back, telling him, “El que mucho abarca, poco, aprieta. He who tries to grab too much, gets little.” Throughout the neighborhood and through conversations with Francisco’s family, young readers are not only exposed to Spanish when reading this book, but to proverbs straight out of Cuban culture.

We loved this book for all of its wisdom, but especially for the story of Francisco and his relationship with his family and neighbors, many of which are family. While you can definitely support our site and grab a copy on Amazon by selecting the link above, we found three copies for $13 cheaper on Thriftbooks.com.

Age: 9-12

Molly Knox Ostertag and Aster, the Witch Boy, are back in their second book: The Hidden Witch. As usual, her art work and the plot were amazing. 

This second installment of this series involves a plot centering around Charlie, and allows us to see much more of Charlie’s life. Unfortunately, even though she doesn’t have any magic, Charlie can’t seem to stay away from the magical, and this time, she’s in trouble. A Fetch is after her, and without Aster’s help, she’s doomed, but Aster is not powerful enough to protect Charlie, which means he has to ask for help from the very last person we’d expect.

While Ostertag is usually pretty straightforward, the ending twist is always worth the read. Watching Aster and Charlie are also just as fun, and this book added a third character we expect to see more of, Ariel.  As usual, we love how Ostertag presents her characters of many hues and ranges as people rather than their skin color…almost…as if it’s normal?

Pick up a copy of The Hidden Witch by selecting the image above, and as always, thank you for helping to support our website! Or grab a copy on Thriftbooks.com. We found it there for two bucks cheaper.

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