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Review of We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; illus. by various artists
Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    88 pp.
9/18    978-0-525-58042-3    $18.99
Library ed.  978-0-525-58043-0    $21.99
e-book ed.  978-0-525-58044-7    $10.99

The Hudsons (founders of Just Us Books) created this timely and powerful anthology to help young people face challenges that seem “too big for us to handle”; to cope with the hate currently being unleashed against, among others, people of color, people with disabilities, and people of different faiths. More than thirty essays, poems, and letters are presented on beautifully designed double-page spreads; there are fifty-two contributors in all. Jacqueline Woodson’s letter about the need for kindness is illustrated by Javaka Steptoe on a boldly colored spread with a heart placed like wings on the shoulders of the author; Joseph Bruchac’s poem about friendship is accompanied by Charles R. Smith Jr.’s evocative photograph silhouetting two boys skipping stones together. Many entries encourage children to find strength and character within. Others reference difficult times of the past while looking toward a more hopeful future (Tameka Fryer Brown: “Maybe it would be helpful to know / these aren’t the first / troubling times / our world has seen, / that none has ever lasted / forever”). Rita Williams-Garcia exhorts children to be of service to others — 
including the “ultimate service” of voting (a “process that those before you were barred from”). One of the most striking achievements of the anthology, exemplified by Pat Cummings’s entry, is that it provides comfort and reassurance (“The storm is coming. / There is always a storm / But we’ve got you”) but also empowerment (“So…grow strong. / We’re here. Your wind. / And you? / You’re our coming storm”). The attractive and accessible presentation will pull kids in; the wisdom they find inside will keep them engaged — and, it is to be hoped, motivated.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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