Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice

Roaring Brook. Mar. 2020. 56p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250311207.
Gr 3-6–This new book from the team behind Woke Baby introduces concepts and explains issues that concern activists of all ages. These 24 poems celebrate diversity and individuality, touching on issues of gender, physical ability, race, immigration, and protest. The authors recognize the complex web of discrimination and systemic oppression that impacts many marginalized people. The message is clear: We must fight against injustice, and our words can be our greatest source of power. The cover image (a young person of color wearing a pen behind their ear and gazing upward) reflects a hopeful solution: poetry. The poems, written by three different poets, function well (perhaps better) as read-alouds. Their rhythm and natural flow are reminiscent of spoken word poetry, and the way they appear on the page is important. The illustrations resemble the modern, color-saturated, stylized work of graphic novelists like Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson.
VERDICT An important book that demands to be seen. It adds to the conversation of #OwnVoices and speaks to a young person’s need for expression and social justice.

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