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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes, ill. Floyd Cooper

With the recent death of Floyd Cooper I was inspired to discover which picture book of his could be best considered a “classic” of the genre. It’s a hard call, and I’m sure you have your own favorites, but if we say that the book had to have come out 20 years ago or more then today’s book gets my vote. Plus, it has the extra added benefit of being the first Nikki Grimes title we’ve done on the show.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

Here is the recent interview with Floyd that provided the quote that I read on the show.

It’s funny than there’s a line in Danitra Brown about “the blacker the berry” and here I was considering this book (also illustrated by Mr. Cooper) for today’s recording. It was too young, but I considered it seriously:

Not sure what I loved more about Danitra: Her glasses? Or her vest? This is peak 1994 right here:

As a parent, images like this one give me the chills. No helmet! No hands! No feet! And she couldn’t be more delighted with herself.

Here you can enjoy this interview with Nikki Grimes, which delves deep into her life:

So here are the changes to our much maligned Berenstain Bears and the Bully (still our lowest rated picture book to date). Thank you

And here is the Great Green Room located in Blue Marble Books in Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

Thank you, Emily, for these shots!

Kate Recommends: Black Widow

Betsy Recommends: Summer of Soul

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I was intrigued that the line, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice” appears in Meet Danitra Brown (I remembered it from the picture book by that title, referenced by you above), so I went down the Internet rabbit hole and discovered that The Blacker the Berry is the title of a 1929 novel by Wallace Thurman — not sure if he originated it, or if he used an existing saying as a title for his work. However, I also discovered that, for readers of Meet Danitra Brown in 1994, it might have seemed like a hat-tip to Tupac, who used the line in his 1993 single, “Keep Ya Head Up.”

  2. The only hockey picture book I can think of is “The Happy Hockey Family” by Lane Smith and his wife…whose name escapes me.