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Children's Book, Where's Rodney? Releases Today
An African American boys fascination for nature illuminates in author Carmen Bogan's newest book
By: Dream On Publishing
How do you capture the interest of Rodney, an African-American boy who struggles to see the purpose of school? In finding the answer to this question, young readers will see themselves in Rodney especially for children who long for the unknown, and who are curious to explore, beyond a structured classroom of boredom.
Author Carmen Bogan has charmingly captured an enriching and rarely explored perspective and characterization of African American children, through the eyes of Rodney, a boy whose fascination with nature is enthralling, innocent, and relatable. Bogan's story lures readers inside the classroom of Rodney. It demonstrates what happens when teaching is rote and culturally barren. Instead of labeling Rodney's behavior as disobedient, or proof that he lacks an interest in education, Bogan unfolds a tale of child's longing and a nagging need for self-exploration in an environment just beyond town, awaiting his arrival, and his return.
Initially, readers find Rodney as he is seen by many of his classmates and teacher: disruptive, restless. In the day's lesson to learn word "majestic" Rodney is disinterested. But, later on field trip day, Rodney blossoms! His true interest is piqued, revealing an innate interest and utter enjoyment for nature.
Moving from one page to the next, readers will glean, perhaps even feel, Rodney's yearning. Soon they find that Rodney is not the character who can be easily labeled stubborn, uninterested or the unconcerned boy who thought he knew all about the park. '…It's a small, triangle-shaped patch of yellow grass next to the corner store and the bus stop.' Instead, they discover who Rodney is, and where Rodney is, as his exposure to nature expands. The boundaries he's always known are lifted away replaced by curiosity and excitement; new aromas and sounds. They bubble up deep within Rodney each time his school bus carries away his classmates and him far away from town and the ordered life he's always known, and takes him back closer to a place he describes as "majestic."
Floyd Cooper, illustrator of Where's Rodney? is anNAACP Image Award nominee and Coretta Scott King Award winner. This picture book humanizes Rodney, proving that an African American boy can, and do, find nature majestic. Cooper artfully creates the emotion of new discovery and innocence with his use of warm colors reflected in Rodney's face, his expressions, and movements. The illustrations where Rodney and classmates are walking amongst stately redwoods, sequoias and oak trees exude colorful lush surroundings and serenity. Cooper correlates Rodney's wonder in the outdoors with Bogan's inference that there are healing properties for children, and particularly for Rodney who would otherwise be labeled ADHD, disorderly, a problem. Where's Rodney? is both a beautiful and necessary, book that reconnects African American children to a long forgotten heritage and cultural tie to nature. It awakens these ties and reminds them, as it does Rodney, about the African ancestry and nature's relevance to it.
Publishers Weekly wrote "In hazy scenes that glow with warmth, Cooper (Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History) pays homage to the dramatic landscape of the unnamed park, but the focus of his images and Bogan's understated writing is on Rodney, and how he finally has the freedom to investigate nature intimately and on his own terms."
Dream On Publishing- founded by Carmen's Bogan in 2013, is a multicultural book publisher focused on promoting literacy for young children of color. Their mission is to provide books of interests to children in school, foster an inviting atmosphere of learning through reading in an effort to counteract the age of smartphones and 24/7tv subscription based services and cable programming.
Carmen Bogan- is a professional writer a frequent trainer and lecturer to women's groups, nonprofit professionals, and faith-based organization leaders. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, Willie. Carmen has two adult daughters, Dr. Erin Danielle Bogan and Natalie Quinn Bogan. In addition to publishing Where's Rodney?, Carmen will publish her third children's book, Granny Who is God? next month.
Dream On Publishing/Lori Shepherd