Diversity in literature is about more than just authorship and characters’ skin tones. Cultures generate unique storytelling strategies that are often overlooked or afforded less critical significance than white, Western master narratives.
The award-winning collaborators Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney excel at presenting biographical tales rooted in Black culture’s oral histories, theater, poetry, music, art. Complex and evocative, “Loretta Little Looks Back” spans three generations of children in one fictional Mississippi family enduring a new type of enslavement (sharecropping, under the Jim Crow laws of segregation) and ultimately triumphing over new types of voter suppression (a literacy test and a poll tax).
Based on interviews and oral histories culled from sharecroppers who lived in the South in the 1920s through the 1960s, including Andrea Davis Pinkney’s own family members, the novel interweaves the voices of Loretta (speaking from 1927 to 1930); her little brother, Roly (1942-50); and Roly’s