The Electric Slide and Kai

By The Horn Book

Kai Donovan, an African American boy whose family members can all dance, feels he doesn’t belong because he just can’t. The last time he tried the Electric Slide, he knocked his little cousin over. Granddad has given each of Kai’s siblings a dance-related nickname—D.J. Groove, Miss Boogie, and Baby Bounce—but so far, Kai has none. When a wedding invitation arrives from his aunt, Kai worries knowing the Electric Slide will surely happen at the reception. He asks one of his sisters for lessons and practices diligently. On the wedding day, Kai surprises his whole family—and Granddad finally gives him the perfect nickname. Johnson’s colorful cartoon illustrations convey the family’s verve and exuberance as effectively as they do Kai’s worry and concern. Baptist’s conversational text gives each character a distinct personality. This uplifting story of one kid’s struggle to fit in with his own family will resonate with readers who have similar insecurities. And the centrality of the Electric Slide might prompt readers to turn on the tunes and get their own groove on.