Author Andrea Davis Pinkney and her husband, illustrator Brian Pinkney, are renowned figures in the world of children’s and young adult literature for their more than 70 books, many of which capture the African American experience throughout history. In Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It, they turn their attention to another vital story in Black history: the fight for the right to vote, viewed through the eyes of multiple generations in a single indomitable family.
Described as a “monologue novel” by the author, Loretta Little Looks Back offers readers the story of the Little family from the 1920s to the ’60s as told by Loretta, her younger brother, Roly, and Aggie B., Roly’s daughter. Each of their voices is strong and distinct, emerging with their own quirks and personalities, but there are frequent reminders that their strength is rooted in their love for and devotion to each other.
Brian Pinkney’s illustrations brim with warmth and life, providing visual representations of the sense of hope that persists among the members of the Little family. His images are evocative while leaving room for the reader’s own imagination, striking a delicate balance that complements the writing beautifully.
Rich with lived-in historic details and told in deceptively effortless, conversational prose, Loretta Little Looks Back is a reading experience to get swept up in. It’s like a time machine that takes you away from your surroundings and plants you in the lives of the Little family, whose hope and determination in the face of injustice and oppression would be inspiring at any moment in history.