Forever and Always (Hardcover)

Forever and Always By Brittany J. Thurman, Shamar Knight-Justice (Illustrator) Cover Image

Forever and Always (Hardcover)


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“This is a picture book that gives oxygen to all the unstated fears, perhaps burning them off. This book offers a reality right out of the headlines, but by leaving it child-sized has a huge impact.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“A balm for little ones grappling with harsh realities.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In this lyrical picture book from two breakout picture book creators, a young Black child waits for—and worries about—her father while he’s away from home. A sensitive, poignant portrayal of a family’s worries, joys, and comforts, to sit alongside books by Jacqueline Woodson and Christian Robinson.

Every night when Daddy gets home from work, Olivia gives him a big hug and knows that the evening will be full of love—and fun. Together, she, Daddy, and Momma will make a feast for dinner, clean up, dance to old-school tunes, and read stories. But every morning when Daddy goes to work, Olivia worries, worries, worries. Be safe, she and Momma tell him. But what if he isn’t? Sometimes other people aren’t, like the people Olivia sees on the news. Thud, thud, thud, goes Olivia’s heart. Thump, thump, thump, all through the long day, until she hears the jangle of Daddy’s keys announcing he’s home.

Brittany J. Thurman’s poetic text deftly explores the day-to-day life of a young Black child and her family—their joys and their fears—with a rhythm and musicality perfect for reading aloud. Shamar Knight-Justice’s expressive artwork sings with color, texture, and warmth. Forever and Always respects the deep emotions of young readers while offering comfort and reassurance to any child waiting for a loved one to come home. For readers of Nigel and the Moon, The Year We Learned to Fly, and Saturday.

Brittany J. Thurman is the author of the picture books Fly and Forever and Always, and the middle grade novel Fearless: Boulevard of Dreams, written with Mandy Gonzalez. She is a former children’s specialist, dedicated to ensuring children’s literature truthfully reflects the world in which we live. Brittany Thurman holds an MFA in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University and a BA in theater from Kingston University, London, England. She is an avid traveler and has lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now resides in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Shamar Knight-Justice is an illustrator and educator based in Atlanta. His artwork focuses on mixed media and unique textures and patterns. Shamar intentionally highlights Black and Brown children in his work because he wants the fullness of their identities to be celebrated in picture books. He is the illustrator of Ari J.’s Kinky, Curly Crown; Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince; and Repeat After Me: Big Things to Say Every Day. Visit him online at 

Product Details ISBN: 9780063140783
ISBN-10: 0063140780
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 40
Language: English

“The family here prays and waits while trying to think well of the world, that all will be okay, when actually they have evidence that sometimes fathers leave and never return... It’s hard to express how effective Thurman’s restraint is. Feelings, worried looks, and palpable tension in the beautiful painterly illustrations are the only clues of the pain this family feels during every moment of separation until Daddy returns home, safe... So understated that it’s sure to give flight to discussions, this book offers a reality right out of the headlines, but by leaving it child-sized has a huge impact." — School Library Journal (starred review)

“All day long, a young Black girl hopes her father will return from work.... From cover to cover, this book feels like a love song, with sheet music woven throughout the background. The digitally created art has a collagelike feel; deft use of shadow and texture makes the images appear almost three-dimensional in places. Tender and intimate, this is a book that will soothe children enduring the same worries as Olivia.... A balm for little ones grappling with harsh realities.”  — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)