Sarah and Susan love the Sunday afternoons they spend with their Great-great-aunt Flossie, whose house is "crowded full of stuff and things," most significantly her incredible collection of hats. Trying on the hats is fun for the girls, but the best part is that each hat comes with a story. For example, what Aunt Flossie remembers about the woolly green one — it still smells faintly of smoke — is that she wore it when she witnessed the great Baltimore fire. She made the dark blue one with the red feather to wear to the parade that welcomed African-American soldiers home from World War I. But the story the sisters like most is the one about Aunt Flossie's "favorite best Sunday hat." As Susan explains, "It's our favorite story, because we are in the story, and we can help Aunt Flossie tell it!" And they do.
Narrated in a childlike voice that speaks volumes despite its simplicity, this beautiful picture book captures the excitement young children can feel when learning about their own family history. Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard modeled the character of Aunt Flossie on her own feisty 98-year-old aunt, and used her stories of "the old days" in African-American Baltimore as the basis of the stories in this book.
Rich, color-drenched paintings by acclaimed artist James Ransome resonate with the girls' joy at spending time with their aunt, and go back in time to show a young Flossie witnessing the significant events of her youth. A warm expression of intergenerational love and continuity, Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) invites readers into the home and hearts of a close family.