Harlem Renaissance Party
Faith Ringgold’s Harlem Renaissance Party is reminiscent of the rent parties of the age; it has the drunken feel-good sensation of spiked punch. The surreal journey in which young Lonnie is introduced to the “giants” of the Harlem Renaissance through a series of unlikely and disconnected events in a reimagining of 1930s Harlem is like the happy haze of a good buzz. But like any high, eventually you come down and remember the night before.
While utterly imaginative, this book lacks the substance that many of its subjects contributed to the world of art. There is little literary feel to this book. Instead it feels like a superficial hit and run of an important era that deserves greater consideration. There are also significant concerns within this book in terms of depictions. It seems odd that a book illustrating a spectrum of black people would have only one character, Lonnie, represented in light hues. In fact, a number of Ringgold’s other subjects were of light complexion. These misrepresentations are troublesome, and bring the intention and research of the author into question. With a growing library of black history children’s books, this is not one I would stock on my child’s reading shelves.
|Buy this Book