Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Little, Brown. Sept. 2020. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316536776.
Gr 5 Up–Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family, recount their lives through original first-person narratives, poetry, and spiritual hymns. The first to tell her story is Loretta Little, who is as strong as any adult and can box cotton with the best of them. Her life as a sharecropper’s daughter imbues her with great strength, but is not without sacrifice. Next up is Roly, whose story begins when Loretta and her sisters find him abandoned in a field as a baby and raise him. He grows up with an affinity for nature and an intuition for what the farm animals and crops need. The last to tell her story is Aggie B., Roly’s daughter, and the B stands for “bold.” Even though she is young, she stands by her beliefs and feels it is her duty to help African Americans exercise their right to vote. Every character has a unique voice and an engaging presence. From the first page, readers are invested in these characters’ journeys as they navigate fantastic triumphs and devastating lows. The members of the Little family meld well with each other and realistically portray a close-knit family dynamic. This creatively written monologue novel uses the style of stage performance, allowing readers to visualize every monologue or poem performed. The pleasing artwork punctuates each chapter with added depth.
VERDICT The combination of elements drawing on oral tradition and folklore set this book apart, making it an unforgettable reading experience. Perfect for every library.

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