The Art of Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

h1 January 11th, 2018 by jules

“… Mrs. Vandenberg / holds up her hand.
Write about anything! / It’s not black and white.
But it is. / Charles is black, / and I’m white.”


Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Irene Latham’s and Charles Waters’s Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Carolrhoda Books, January 2018), illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls.

Today, I’ve a bit of art from the book.

Enjoy. …


“… Now I’m stuck with Irene? / She hardly says anything. Plus she’s white. …”
(Click to enlarge spread and read poem in its entirety)



“… You’ve got / the whole rest of the playground, /she says.
Can’t we / at least have this corner?”
(Click to enlarge spread and read poem in its entirety)


“… Skipping back to class, Irene and I high-five each other /
while our classmates stare at us like we’re Martians.”

(Click to enlarge spread and read poem in its entirety)

* * * * * * *

CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? POEMS OF RACE, MISTAKES, AND FRIENDSHIP. Text copyright © 2018 by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis.

2 comments to “The Art of Selina Alko and Sean Qualls”

  1. I think the blend of pigments (chalks? something for which I have no words) used to create the skin tones on each kid are striking. No one is all one color, and it shows.

  2. Excellent point.

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