Strange Fruit by Joel Christian Gill

I refuse to stop being excited about SPX even though it happened a month ago.  I’m going to be pumped until the next one, and then that’ll carry on for another year, and it’ll keep happening.  Books like this are why.


Fangirls, when I was standing by Gill’s table, he started talking to me about his book.  I felt pressured (which I really don’t like), but I realized that he was pressuring me because he wanted these stories out.  Strange Fruit is a collection of nine “Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History.”  Their tales of African Americans that we don’t get to hear about as often as those of Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr.  But they’re stories that Mr Gill is excited about.

Strange Fruit is one of the first books I’ve actually read from my SPX haul (I’m trying to make them last me, but it’s difficult).  I’m really glad I started with this one, though, because Gill is desperately passionate about getting these stories out.  Of the nine, my favorite is Marshall “Major” Taylor: The Black Cyclone.  That tale is of Marshall Taylor, a boy who learned he could do bicycle tricks and became known as one of the fastest men alive, nicknamed the cyclone.


I’m not going to delve too deeply into this book (because I think you should check it out yourself, duh), but I was really impressed by this book.  Gill clearly did his research to get his point across, and is clearly saying there are more African American people who did cool things that aren’t being recognized.  And he’s right.

There’s a lot of hard work that went into this book.  Gill wrote and illustrated it himself, along with doing a ton of research (the back even has a bibliography), and then goes out to conventions to talk about it.  So thank you, Mr Gill, for sharing these tales with everyone.  I can’t wait for volume two.




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