Monday, March 8, 2021

Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter by Shani King


From a purely aesthetic standpoint, this book is a five. The minimalism/pop-art illustrations done by Bobby C. Martin are exceptionally gorgeous and would make great posters (I would be surprised if posters of his work aren't available already). I would gladly purchase a coffee table book of his art at some point (and maybe even a print or two). From a readability standpoint, however, this book is more of a 3 or a 4, for several reasons.

While the message of the book is important and the way it is presented is lovely-- inspirational quotes in color block font, gorgeous illustrations-- it felt too short. I wish this was more of an art book, with even more quotes and illustrations. It doesn't help that the book feels very back-heavy because it has a bunch of micro-biographies of famous Black scientists, artists, politicians, etc. of note just crammed in very plain, very small text in the back half, which are fascinating to read but presented in such a plain, unadorned way in comparison to the vibrant presentation of the first half. It feels a bit anticlimactic!

I'm also not really 100% sure what the age range for this book is. The first half feels like a children's book but the language in the mini-biographies combined with the small font size feel like they're being targeted towards a much older audience, maybe middle grade as opposed to elementary. I think this would be a beautiful book to display in the home or have as a resource in a classroom, but as something to read over and over and use as a reference, it isn't all that accessible.

I'll definitely keep an eye out for more work by Bobby C. Martin, though!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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