Kid Review: Magnolia Flower by Ibram X. Kendi


About This Book:


From beloved African American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston comes a moving adaptation by National Book Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi. Magnolia Flower follows a young Afro Indigenous girl who longs for freedom and is gorgeously illustrated by Loveis Wise (The People Remember, Ablaze with Color).
Born to parents who fled slavery and the Trail of Tears, Magnolia Flower is a girl with a vibrant spirit. Not to be deterred by rigid ways of the world, she longs to connect with others, who too long for freedom. She finds this in a young man of letters who her father disapproves of. In her quest to be free, Magnolia must make a choice and set off on a journey that will prove just how brave one can be when leading with one’s heart. 

The acclaimed writer of several American classics, Zora Neale Hurston wrote this stirring folktale brimming with poetic prose, culture, and history. It was first published as a short story in The Spokesman in 1925 and later in her collection Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick (2020). 

Tenderly retold by #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, Magnolia Flower is a story of a transformative and radical devotion between generations of Indigenous and Black people in America. With breathtaking illustrations by Loveis Wise, this picture book reminds us that there is no force strong enough to stop love.

*Review Contributed By Bethany Wicker, Staff Reviewer*


Stunning Illustrations


A brook and a tree watch as love blossoms between an indigenous woman and a black male. Both of them are on the run to escape their enslavement and start a new life. Their meeting produces a daughter named Magnolia Flower. She is a treasure among nature and goes on to fall in love with a male her father disapproves of. With hearts in her eyes, she runs away with him, uncaring about his lack of finances because there are more important things in life to Magnolia.

MAGNOLIA FLOWER is a retelling of a folktale written by Zora Neale Hurston and encompasses the beauty in both nature and love. Difficult times have a way of bringing people together and this book demonstrates that with stunning and vibrant illustrations. At first, I was a bit confused on what was going on, but once I caught on to the message, I became entranced. They lyrical theme and bright colors bring life to the story unlike many other books out there. I love how it’s told from nature’s point of view because it brings in a unique perspective to a powerful children’s book.

Final Verdict: I would recommend this to children who love nature, stories of love and overcoming challenges, and adventure.


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