Harlem at Four
by Michael Datcher, Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Publication Date: Sep 19, 2023
List Price: $18.99
Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
Target Age Group: Picture Book
Imprint: Random House Studio
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
A stunning picture book comprised of two incredible stories— the first part of the book chronicles the adventures of a four-year-old Black girl named Harlem, while the second part describes the history of Harlem the neighborhood. From a New York Times Bestselling author and a critically acclaimed illustrator.
In this beautiful picture book in two parts, meet Harlem: the girl and the neighborhood. Part one follows the adventures of a little girl named Harlem and her single father as they go on a museum “playdate” with painters Romare Bearden and Jean-Michel Basquiat, listen to John Coltrane records, and conduct science experiments in their apartment ("The volcano erupts /Red lava on Valentine’s Day!").
Part two takes us back to the fourth year of the twentieth century in Harlem the neighborhood. Here, we are introduced to Philip A. Payton Jr., aka “Papa Payton,” whose Afro-American Realty Company gave birth to the Black housing explosion, helping to start America’s Great Black Migration. Because of Papa Peyton, Black families—like Harlem and her father a century later—could move to Harlem and thrive and flourish.
This is a completely unique, absolutely gorgeous picture book by a New York Times Bestselling author, and a Coretta Scott King-winning illustrator, that weaves together the lives of a modern Black family and a historically Black neighborhood in New York City.