Review of We Are Here

We Are Here We Are Here
by Tami Charles; illus. by Bryan Collier
Preschool, Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    40 pp.
1/23    9781338752045    $18.99

Charles says in her appended note that this book, its companion All Because You Matter (rev. 11/20), and a planned forthcoming title are intended to “affirm, celebrate, and confirm the power and greatness that lie within all our children.” Here, her poignant text addresses the Black girl featured in Collier’s bold and expressive collage and watercolor illustrations. Both text and art share the rich legacies of Black and brown people whose contributions have helped shape fields of science, music, social justice, fashion, and food. The empowering images incorporate historical figures including Marian Anderson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (five brief bios are appended). A triumphant, encouraging tone permeates the messages to young people of color (“We are seeds, / you and me, / roots thick / with dreams / and stars / and possibilities”; “You are / brilliant, / extraordinary, / far-beyond-ordinary”), asserting recognition and illuminating possibilities for their future. Collier’s visual imagery captures the narrative perfectly, suggesting wonderment, reflection, strength, and self-love. A glossary and author and illustrator notes conclude this celebratory offering.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Pauletta Brown Bracy
Pauletta Brown Bracy is professor of library science at North Carolina Central University. She is chair of the 2015-2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee and serves on the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards committee.

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