Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin'
Author: Jerry Craft
Baker & Taylor
Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' by Jerry Craft is the follow up to the award-winning" Mama's Boyz: As American as Sweet Potato Pie!, a compilation of the comic strip that has been syndicated by King Features since 1994. (Craft is one of fewer than a dozen syndicated African-American cartoonists in the country!) The first book was selected for inclusion in
"Great Books For African-American Children." In addition, Mama's Boyz received an African American Literary Awards Show Open Book Award, and was reprinted in the best-selling Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul .
Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' takes a month-by-month look at the events that affect the lives of the American family. Its humor, messages, and morals are aimed at getting kids and young adults to read and promote discussion. It examines a year in the life of the Porter family, which is made up of Pauline aka "Mom" (a widow), and her two teenaged sons, Tyrell and Yusuf.
For example, in January, "Gran'pa" takes the boys downtown to eat at a lunch counter in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. For the first time, the teens are made to realize what life was like before the Civil Rights Movement as Gran'pa makes Yusuf give up his seat to a white passenger. Once at the restaurant, they are told how African Americans used to have to enter through the backdoor and were not even permitted to sit at the counter. Other topics include an appreciation of Black History Month (Feb) and Women's History Month (Mar), realizing the importance of Mom for Mother's Day (May), back to school (Sept) and holidays such as Thanksgiving (Nov) Christmas and Kwanzaa (Dec).
Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' also includes a look at how Jerry Craft creates his strips, draws his characters, and commentary on various comics throughout the book. The book concludes with the most popular Mama's Boyz story in its 15-year run, entitled "Dawn of the Dad" in which Mom shows Yusuf the tremendous responsibility of raising a child as he's made to care for an infant for an entire weekend. Changing diapers, 2 a.m. feedings, crying, burping... you name it. When this story first appeared in newspapers, Jerry received over 500 emails from parents, teachers and clergy around the country commending the series. One mother wrote to say that she let her son read the strips, then used it as a way to talk to him for the very first time about the issue of "babies having babies." As a result, in June of 2007, he received a "Conversation Starter" award from the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The award is for advocates who have helped change the conversation about teen pregnancy from one that places blame and shame on teenagers, to conversations about what it takes to motivate teens to want to avoid pregnancy in the first place.
The book was recently endorsed by "Teachers Against Prejudice!"