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Nook & Cranny Books

A is for Affrilachia by Frank X Walker & upfromsumdirt (Illus)

A is for Affrilachia by Frank X Walker & upfromsumdirt (Illus)

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The people and places in Appalachia make it a rich, multifaceted, and diverse region. When author Frank X Walker first coined the phrase "Affrilachia," he wanted to ensure that the voices and accomplishments of African Americans in that region were recognized and exalted. A Is for Affrilachia not only brings awareness of notable African Americans from this region, but this inspired children's alphabet book is also an exuberant celebration of the people, physical spaces, and historical events that may not be as well-known in mainstream educational structures.

Illustrated by acclaimed artist upfromsumdirt, every image exudes vibrancy, beauty, and whimsy as it depicts an alphabetized word alongside each corresponding letter. Featured are a range of musicians, artists, and activists, as well as mountain ranges, literary works, and coal mining implements. Famous names, such as playwright August Wilson, writer Nikki Giovanni, actor Chadwick Boseman, and singer Nina Simone are spotlighted, as well as lesser-known individuals, such as artist Romare Bearden and musician Amythyst Kiah. Particularly poignant are the letters representing the four girls―Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley―who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

Equipped with a glossary to engage discussion regarding the importance of the individuals and places represented, this children's book is a unique and engaging ABC primer that offers a rich display of regional, racial, and cultural heritage through word and image.

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