Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again

DK. Sept. 2021. 240p. ed. by Bourne, Shakirah & Dana Alison Levy, eds. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780744039917.
Gr 7 Up–This anthology of essays is a candid exploration of allyship, described as, “A constant act—not a state of being.” A general content warning is provided at the beginning advising vulnerable readers to put the book down or visit the resources in the back for assistance. The term ally is used to show the ways people with privilege show up and support those who are systematically oppressed. Other words used include accomplice or coconspirator. Co-editor Levy focuses on the importance of continually using the power of your privilege to speak out, stand up, show up, and boost voices of marginalized people to help take on oppression from systemic racism and other forms of discrimination. Levy frankly describes the practice of quiet allyship. This may come in the form of amplifying marginalized voices, shopping at BIPOC-owned stores, promoting inclusive books, following diverse voices on social media, and sharing pronouns. This book asks: Will you speak up, even when the oppressed person/group is not in the room? The anecdotes in this compilation are vast and astute, while still accessible to teens. Contributing authors include Aida Salazar, Eric Smith, I.W. Gregorio, Adiba Jaigirdar, Brendan Kiely, and more. Resources include recommended organizations, books, websites, and digital media from the authors. Tips for bystanders, how to call out racism, and prompts for self-reflection are also featured.
VERDICT This stellar treasury of insightful and varied anecdotes provides readers with invaluable information as they navigate allyship. This would also be a spectacular choice for a classroom discussion/book club.

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