Ramos, NoNieqa

Beauty Woke

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Paola Escobar. Baby Beauty's arrival into the world begins in the womb, "First there is one heart, / then two." With a metered, lyrical cadence, Ramos's text centers on the collective, enumerating how the kinship family--from la doctora, to the espiritista, to the community at the Puerto Rican Day Parade--envelops Beauty and her immediate family in love. As she grows up, this kinship family transmits to Beauty an understanding of her Taíno, African, and Boricua ancestral ties, a deep cultural knowledge that ignites "resistance, / imagination, / hope" in Beauty. This knowledge ultimately supports her when she encounters racist language aimed at "people that looked like family." Confused and hurt, Beauty runs through her neighborhood to process the emotions of “her heart brusin' / black and blue." Escobar's digital illustrations include neighborhood murals that incorporate Taíno symbols with faces of children and elders as well as Black and Brown raised fists of resistance. The concluding subsequent spreads in luminous colorful palettes show Beauty's return home, where a healing ceremony empowers her to see the beauty of her heritage.


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