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A book for, by and about brown girls

Brown Girl Magic

Fatinha Ramos & Dalilla Hermans

Noen comes home from school angry, sad and confused. After some urging she tells her sister Maan that she’s being bullied by Teejo because of her dark skin and curly hair. He says this isn’t her country and she should just buzz off. Although several people make clear to her that such bullying is unacceptable, Noen continues to wonder whether maybe Teejo was right. Maan tries to comfort her by pointing out what’s special about Noen’s skin and hair. She turns it into an ode to all brown girls, putting into words what brown girl magic means to her.

The descriptions are beautiful, with sometimes mischievous wordplay

‘Brown Girl Magic’ is a bilingual book (Dutch and English) in rhyme. The illustrations by Fatinha Ramos are deeply moving and speak, sometimes shout, without words. In a time of #browngirlmagic and #blacklivesmatter, it’s important to be aware of the effect that racism has on children. After all, the stories children are told help to determine how they experience the world and what they regard as ‘normal’. With ‘Brown Girl Magic’ Dalilla Hermans presents a beautifully nuanced view of the broad range of emotions and deep impact that racist comments can bring about. This book offers girls of colour not just a window on the world but a mirror in which to see themselves.

The warm, colourful illustrations give the book great added value. Emotions are captured vividly, in both colour and composition