reviewed by Jevon Hunter – November 30, 2018

Title: The Brilliance of Black Boys
Author(s): Brian L. Wright & Shelly L. Counsell
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN:9780807758922, Pages: 168, Year: 2018

What happens when educators and educators-to-be use a language of “promise, potential, and possibilities” as a way of describing our Black boys in early childhood? As literacy educator Alfred W. Tatum (2009) reminds us, language has a powerful impact on ideas and subsequently on material actions. It is this transformative notion of moving from language to action that drives Brian L. Wright and Shelly L. Counsell to shine light on the genius of our Black boys in their text, The Brilliance of Black Boys: Cultivating School Success in the Early Grades.

The common refrain in the text of “promise, potential, and possibilities” serves as an organizing set of truths from which to build and support asset-based instruction for our Black boys in early childhood education. It is evident from the start of The Brilliance of Black Boys that the authors are quite interested in spotlighting the curiosity, excitement, and talents that our Black boys possess early in their lives. They advocate for teachers and teachers-to-be to acknowledge these ways of being in order to arrange and facilitate pedagogical encounters that are both intellectually and physically affirming and substantive. Wright and Counsell draw upon three conceptual frameworks, namely, sociocultural theory, anti-deficit achievement, and culturally responsive teaching, to organize and situate their overall argument for leveraging the strengths that our Black boys bring with them into the classroom to facilitate learning and human development.

Read the full review at Teachers College Record