“A Story About Afiya,” by Jamaican poet James Berry, is a story about a beautiful, little Black girl named Afiya (which means ‘health’ in Swahili). Her dress collects memorabilia from the day. As she dances and moves around the island her dress has the day’s adventure printed on it but by the next morning it’s a clear canvas for the next day’s design.
Brazilian illustrator Anna Cunha, captures the reader’s imagination with her artistic choices. Afiya’s dark skin and black hair, styled as a crown, compliments her look and sends a positive message. Her magical world shows the joys of being a child.
Share this story with any young child and have them tell you their favorite parts of the book.
Title: A Story About Afiya
Author: James Berry
Illustrator: Anna Cunha
Publisher: Lantana Publishing, 2020
Chosen by the New York Times as one of the 25 Best Children’s Books of 2020.
Shauntee Burns-Simpson (MLIS) currently serves as the 2020-2022 President of BCALA. She is the Associate Director of School Outreach for The New York Public Library. An ambassador for libraries and Youth Librarian, President Burns-Simpson enjoys connecting people to the public library and its resources. She works closely with at-risk teens and fosters a love of reading & learning with her innovative programs. In addition to leading BCALA, she chairs the American Library Association Office of Diversity, Literacy, & Outreach Services (ODLOS) Committee on Diversity.