The Talk (Hardcover)
November/December 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“This is a talk I never needed to have with my children, but kids all over America need. EVERYONE should read this book so we can understand our prejudices, learn from them, and correct them. The illustrations bring a somber topic lightness.”
— Carolyn Roys, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL
Jay’s most favorite things are hanging out with his pals, getting kisses from Grandma, riding in his dad’s cool car, and getting measured by his mom with pencil marks on the wall. But as those height marks inch upward, Grandpa warns Jay about being in too big a group with his friends, Grandma worries others won’t see him as quite so cute now that he’s older, and Dad has to tell Jay how to act if the police ever pull them over.
And Jay just wants to be a kid.
All Black and Brown kids get The Talk—the talk that could mean the difference between life and death in a racist world. Told in an age-appropriate fashion, with a perfect pause for parents to insert their own discussions with their children to accompany prompting illustrations, The Talk is a gently honest and sensitive starting point for this far-too-necessary conversation, for Black children, Brown children, and for ALL children. Because you can’t make change without knowing what needs changing.
Briana Mukodiri Uchendu is an illustrator, visual development artist, and a first-generation Nigerian American. Her work is inspired by her interests in folklore, film, and animation and her passion to highlight voices that usually go unheard. A recent graduate from Ringling College of Art and Design where she majored in illustration, she currently lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas. The Talk is her picture book debut.
— Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*
This powerful picture book about race, family, and growing up is an essential purchase for every library’s collection, putting words to an impossible and necessary conversation, and giving children whose families don’t have “the talk” a window for understanding and an opportunity for compassion and change.–Myiesha Speight
— School Library Journal *STARRED*
The prose is conversational and light, but as the protagonist grows throughout the pages, older readers will still feel represented and invested in the story. Read this with younger readers who may not have had the Talk yet, or read it with older kids to talk about what it was like before the Talk. The warm illustrations hint at the racism the protagonist experiences but more prominently capture the love he feels in his home, and the focus on characters over setting allows for Williams’ words to soar.
Williams’ narration is shaped by a convincing, youthful first-person voice, and Uchendu’s powerful art conveys both the joyful energy of childhood and the pain of adults who can’t shield children from a racist world. A loving approach to sharing painful realities with children, this book strikes a chord. (Picture book. 5-10)
— Kirkus Reviews *STARRED*
Guaranteed to spark a discussion about the issues everyone should be talking about. KQG
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books