Nothing Special

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details
Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
8.81 X 11.16 X 0.38 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Desiree Cooper is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, award-winning journalist, and community activist. She is a widely published essayist and the author of Know the Mother (Wayne State University Press). She is raising her three grandchildren in coastal Virginia.

Bec Sloane is an educator, production designer, and animator working primarily in textiles and tactile media. She writes for various publications, bridging awareness gaps and encouraging cross-sector collaboration with a focus in agroecology and immigrant justice.


The inventive and unique illustrations in Nothing Special perfectly complement the warmth of this story about a childhood rite of passage familiar to many African Americans--summers spent revisiting our southern roots. Nothing Special is a joy to experience!

--Constance Moore "illustrator of Brown: The Many Shades of Love and Black: The Many Wonders of My World"

This heart-warming and gently paced story is a perfect read aloud, sure to be a bedtime (or any calm-down time) favorite. Kids will feel welcomed along on Jax's visit to his grandparents' Virginia home, and will marvel at the tactile crafted art, which literally stitches together the theme that there's just 'something special' in taking the time for homemade fun.

--Meg Lemke "MUTHA Magazine"

Nothing Special is a visual treat that invites viewers into a handcrafted world, cleverly created with fabric and other found objects. Each scene is filled with a playful spirit that emphasizes the growing bond between young Jax and his grandparents.

--Salley Mayor "illustrator of My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World"

Contrary to its title, Nothing Special is both a loving reminder of a family's cultural roots and the simple pleasures of life. Wrapped in a story of multiple generations coming together, it's a warm love letter to the grandparent/grandchild relationship.

--Dan Yaccarino "children's book author and illustrator"

At its heart, Nothing Special is a tribute to the pilgrimage South that Black families make to remain connected to our kin and our history. For us, that is something very special.

-- "The Brown Bookshelf"

A heartfelt ode to the simple, forgotten pleasures of 'going home'-- to old places, bygone times, and circles of love. Sloane's rich and tactile illustrations perfectly complement Cooper's warm and affecting prose.

--Holman Wang "children's author and fiber artist"

"From fishing for crabs to wishing on shooting stars, everything Jax and his elders do together is magical. Unique textile-rich graphics turn this sweet tale of generation-spanning affection into something truly special."

-- "Washington Independent Review of Books"

Nothing Special is a lovely story capturing the beautiful relationship a child can have with his grandparent - and how time together with loved ones can exceed your wildest expectations. With mesmerizing artwork and warmth reverberating within each page, this is a book to be read and cherished with the ones you love.

--JaNay Brown-Wood, author and educator