Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.
A fresh cut makes boys fly.
This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
Derrick Barnes wrote the New York Times bestsellers The King of Kindergarten and I Am Every Good Thing, as well as the critically acclaimed multi-award winning picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, and the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. He also wrote the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. Derrick is a graduate of Jackson State University, and was the first African American creative copywriter hired by greeting cards giant Hallmark. He is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, but currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and their four sons.
Gordon C. James illustrated the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (by Derrick Barnes), which received a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, an Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor, the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers, and a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. He also illustrated Let 'Er Buck!: George Fletcher, the People's Champion (by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson). He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.
Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers
A Newbery Honor Book
A Caldecott Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
An Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Book
An Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor Book
A Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Book
“The swagger is on a million. The sauce is drippin’. . . . This book oozes with black cool and timely, much-needed black joy, using the unique and expansive experience of the barbershop to remind young boys that their inner lives have always mattered there. One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“With language so hot you expect the words to ignite the page, Derrick Barnes endows the boy at this book’s center with flash, strut, pizzazz and the pure unregulated pride of knowing you look like a million bucks. Accompanied by layered paintings that bounce back the beat of the words like the sweetest of jazz riffs, here’s an ode to looking good and feeling great.” —Betsy Bird, NPR Book Concierge: Best Books of 2017
“A powerfully moving tribute to barbershop culture . . . . Pride, confidence, and joy radiate from the pages, both in the black and brown faces of men, women, boys, and girls featured in Barnes’s majestic paintings, and in writing that celebrates human worth with every syllable.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Themes of confidence-building, self-esteem, and joy of young black boys are the important takeaways, and the illustrations jump off the page and invite readers to share in the experience. A super fun read-aloud, this title is a recommended purchase for all picture book collections.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Alternately precise, metaphorical, and culturally specific, Barnes’s descriptions make each page a serendipity. . . . A not-to-be-missed portrayal of the beauty of black boyhood.” —Horn Book Magazine, starred review
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