A door made for me

Tyler Merritt

Book - 2022

After Tyler's first experience of overt racism, his grandfather reminds him that another person's hate does not change the fact that he is loved and perfect just as he is.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Merritt Checked In
Children's stories
Social problem fiction
Picture books
New York, NY : WorthyKids [2022]
Main Author
Tyler Merritt (author)
Other Authors
Lonnie Ollivierre (illustrator), Ty Chapman (author)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 26 cm
Ages 5-8.
Contents unavailable.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 1--4--Even before the title credits, Merritt contagiously chuckles a welcoming, "Kids, ready?" He's immediately engaging, "It was kinda hard to relive this whole story…Can I tell you about it?" He recalls a summer visit to his grandparents where he met Jack, who taught him to fish. Their plans to show off their abundant catch to Jack's friends results in doors slammed on "the little Black boy." His grandparents' love can't erase the racist sting, but their understanding encourages him to find his own door and "hold it wide for whoever wanted to come in." After bestowing energetic kudos on the production crew, Merritt adds the sound of an opening door as a reminder to help "the next person who is struggling to get in." A gentle last laugh urges, "You're gonna have to go home now." VERDICT Despite confronting wrenching lessons about racism, Merritt's kiddie debut proves delightful.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Some childhood encounters take a lifetime to get over. As Tyler, a young Black boy, rides to his grandparents' house, his folded arms and anxious expression suggest that he does not want to go. A whole summer with his grandparents--who will he play with? But Tyler quickly becomes friends with Jack, a White boy about his age. The boys enjoy fishing in the river together, and Jack teaches Ty how to dig for nightcrawlers. One day, they catch three buckets of fish, and Jack decides to show all his friends. But when the boys knock on a door, a White father refuses to let his child come out--a pattern that repeats several times. Baffled, Tyler finally realizes the reason when one parent says, "You can come in, Jack…but not that little Black boy. He needs to stay outside." Jack enters, leaving Tyler on the other side of the locked door, which changes everything for Tyler. At home, Tyler's grandfather offers no easy answers, but he has words of encouragement that make all the difference. In an author's note, Merritt explains that this story is based on his own childhood experience--which "left a mark on my heart that I would carry for many years." Ollivierre's illustrations, with deeply saturated colors, effectively capture Tyler's sadness and befuddlement as he encounters racism from the White adults but also the joy and love that abound as the family bonds over a backyard fried fish dinner. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A tender tribute to the power of family in bolstering children making their way in an often unkind world. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.