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Magnolia Flower

Magnolia Flower by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Loveis Wise, adapts a love story by Zora Neale Hurston for young children. The book is on sale starting September 6, 2022.

Courtesy HarperCollins Publishers

Ibram X. Kendi’s ‘Magnolia Flower’ weaves a Black and Native love story

It’s the 1860s on a tropical island teeming with animals and flowers. This is where a Black freedom-seeker and a Cherokee woman fleeing the Trail of Tears make their home. They have a daughter, Magnolia, who grows up and falls in love on the island.

That story of freedom, trauma, family, and nature was originally written by the Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston. Now, it’s been adapted into a children’s book: Magnolia Flower by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. The book is illustrated by Loveis Wise.

Kendi was drawn to this tale, in part, because it's inspired by Black rural folklore, which Neal Hurston collected. But Kendi also gravitated toward the story because he knew his young daughter would enjoy it.

“A love story, at its core, with characters from the natural world is precisely the type of book that would excite my daughter, who’s six-years-old,” Kendi said.

Reset spoke with Kendi, who also authored How to Be an Antiracist and How to Raise an Antiracist, to preview Magnolia Flower, and learn about the history of Black southern folklore.

GUEST: Ibram X. Kendi, author of Magnolia Flower and How to Be an Antiracist, Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research

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