New children’s book explores the Great Migration, family connection and returning home

The south is still referred to by many African Americans as home “even by many generations who didn’t live there,” says author Desiree Cooper.

desiree cooper smiles in front of a microphone

Desiree Cooper in the WDET studio in March 2019. Photo credit: Jake Neher/WDET.

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Grandparents always offer a different perspective, but that perspective is especially different when they grew up and lived in different places than us.

For many African Americans living in the north, their grandparents grew up in the south. That connection to southern states leaves many northerners wanting to understand what life was like in those spaces, as well as what cultural practices, social relationship and rituals existed.

illustration of an older person with their arm around a younger person as they sit on a dock watching the sun set. overlaying text reads, "Nothing Special."
Book cover for “Nothing Special” by Desiree Cooper.

Desiree Cooper has written about all this in the new children’s book, “Nothing Special.” The journalist, activist and fiction writer explores the link between grandparents and grandchildren, North and South, the Great Migration and a reverse migration of many African Americans moving south.

“I often say that nostalgia for Americana is the rooster, the fields of green, the farmhouse. But Black nostalgia is about the home-going. It’s about going back home to the south.” — Desiree Cooper, author


Listen: What our grandparents mean to us, and the many perspectives they offer.

 


Guest

Desiree Cooper is a journalist and activist. She has most recently written the children’s book, “Nothing Special.” She says many African Americans refer to the south as home, and have family reunions in the south.

“I often say that nostalgia for Americana is the rooster, the fields of green, the farmhouse. But Black nostalgia is about the home-going. It’s about going back home to the south,” says Cooper.

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