We Are Here

Orchard. (All Because You Matter: Bk. 2). Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338752045.
K-Gr 2–Charles and Collier have created a luminous companion to All Because You Matter. The collaborators trace the journey of Black excellence, from the beginning of time to present day, and joyously celebrate how Black people have been an indelible part of humanity’s history all over the globe. Highlighting contributions, such as different genres of music to fashion to civil rights leaders to the George Floyd protests, the unnamed narrator encourages a Black girl in pink who is seen throughout and is a stand-in for all Black children. Charles’s poetic text emphasizes the pride that she should have in herself and her lineage. “Because/ you and me, we have always been heroes./ The same ones who/ sat to take a stand,/ the ones who ran/ so we could fly.” With the turn of every page, readers will encounter a feast for the eyes. Collier’s collage and watercolor renderings capture both cultural innovations and the history of protest and struggle. Georgia row houses, circles, and a pink balloon are motifs throughout, anchors for children as they pore over the intricate pages. Back matter includes short biographies of Black historical figures (such as Muddy Waters, Marian Anderson, and more) as well as their notable contributions to culture, glossary, and notes from Charles and Collier.
VERDICT This awe-inspiring and phenomenal work of art belongs on all shelves.

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