Sherri Winston (President of the Whole Fifth Grade) gives middle-grade readers a sweet and uplifting novel about a Black tween who stands up for what's right in Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution.
Twelve-year-old Lotus Bloom is known for a few things: her gift for the violin, retro style, "peace-and-love vibe" and the "wooly mammoth," her "bodacious" afro. Lotus's undeniable talent and love for the violin earns her a spot at the newly built Atlantis School of the Arts, taking her away from best friend Rebel and their Miami Beach public school. On the first day of classes, seventh-grader Lotus is transferred from beginners' orchestra to advanced, where she is awarded first chair and the role of concert master. Ninth-grader Adolpho doesn't take his unseating well and physically accosts Lotus by throwing paper airplanes into her hair. When Lotus speaks up about the abuse, she is later told that she and the wooly mammoth are in violation of dress code. Should Lotus change her beloved hair and stay quiet? Or should she drop the peaceful demeanor, fight back and risk her spot at the school?
In this outstanding, inspiring novel, Winston covers topics of friendship, racism, discrimination, self-awareness and social justice. She thoughtfully tackles these issues, making them approachable for younger middle-grade readers and relatable for anyone older. Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution shows Black children and adults how to take a stand and show up for themselves. --Natasha Harris, freelance reviewer