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Review: Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution
Sherri Winston
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Published September 6, 2022

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About Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution

From the beloved author of President of the Whole Fifth Grade, a story about a young Black girl who summons the courage to fight against a racist dress code-and stand up for herself.

Twelve-year-old Lotus Bloom is a free spirit with a mega-‘fro she’s affectionately named “the wooly mammoth.” A talented violinist, she just switched from her inner-city school to a fancy arts academy. Her best friend Rebel is quick to point out the funding disparities between schools, and urges Lotus to help her protest, but Lotus isn’t sure; if she’s going to be in the spotlight, she’d rather it be for her music.

But then a classroom prank – boys thinking it’s hilarious to throw wads of paper into Lotus’s hair – escalates after she reports it to the administration and shockingly finds herself facing suspension. Lotus must choose whether to stay quiet and risk everything she’s worked so hard for, or fight back. Is this school really where she belongs?

Inspired by stories of real Black girls advocating against unjust, racist school dress codes across the country, beloved middle grade author Sherri Winston introduces another memorable character who decides to speak up for what’s right, no matter what it takes.

My Review

I LOVED this book. Lotus is thoughtful and funny. She’s also a musician through and through! I loved the way she describes different events or situations as feeling like a particular instrument or sound. That felt very real and very immersive to me.

The story is really accessible, too. Even as someone who’s never played violin or been part of an orchestra, I had no trouble following the scenes showing Lotus playing or practicing with the orchestra. I loved that her dad also works as a professional musician. It created a bond between them, though he let her down in other ways.

I also really enjoyed the growth in Lotus’s relationships with her Mama and Granny. I loved the moments when both women surprised Lotus, and when Lotus surprised herself in her responses to them.

Lotus’s best friend, Rebel, also added a lot to the story. I loved her passion and her confidence. Watching Lotus navigate loving her friend and also trying to figure out how to speak up for herself and define what she wanted drew me straight into the heart of the story.

I feel like I can’t say enough positive things about LOTUS BLOOM AND THE AFRO REVOLUTION. It’s an incredible story, perfect for readers seeking their own voices in a world that wants to overlook them.

Content Notes

Content warning for bullying and two racist slurs.

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Lotus is Black. One of her friends is gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Lotus encounters a couple of racist slurs. One, her Granny tells her as part of a criticism. Another comes in the form of a meme that a classmate uses to bully Lotus.

Romance/Sexual Content
Lotus feels attraction for a boy at school.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Boys at school bully Lotus, throwing paper airplanes into her hair. In one scene, they throw wads of paper at her. A boy posts cruel, racist memes on his social media page about Lotus as well.

Drug Content

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