Speak Up

Clarion. Jul. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358140962.
PreS-Gr 2–A thoughtfully inclusive cast of children encounter various situations throughout their school day that present opportunities for them to help themselves and others. Highlighted examples of advocacy include familiar scenes like showing kindness in the lunchroom and expressing thanks to a teacher, while others address issues such as clarifying the correct pronunciation of your name and being mindful of the environment. The illustrations provide helpful context for younger children. A spread encouraging examination of outdated rules smartly ties in portraits of social justice icons who stood up against oppression, reinforcing how one voice can make a difference. The rhyming text and colorful, cartoon-like illustrations combine for a positive, uplifting message of empowerment. The children are represented in a spectrum of skin tones and an array of intentional choices: One character wears a hijab, while another is shown with hearing aids. Helpful back matter includes an author’s note, brief biographies of real kids who spoke up, examples of when to speak up, and nonverbal ways to participate in change.
VERDICT A calm and creative look at everyday activism, recommended for all library collections.

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