You Hold Me Up

illus. by Danielle Daniel. 28p. Orca. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459814479.
PreS-Gr 2—This evocative picture book is a lovely meditation on kindness and respect. Simple declarative statements belie important cornerstones of humanity: "You hold me up when you comfort me"; "when you laugh with me"; "when you listen to me." Daniel's stylized watercolor paintings show children interacting in positive ways with peers, adults, and family members. Warm, gentle scenes include a rosy-cheeked boy sharing an apple with a younger friend, an elder and two children drumming and singing beneath a starry sky, and a little girl cradled in her mother's embrace. A strong sense of community runs through the poetic text and illustrations and is encapsulated in the final phrase, "We hold each other up." Dedicated to the "children, families and staff of Aboriginal Head Start programs," an author's endnote sheds light on the indignities and abuse suffered by generations of Indigenous Canadians.
VERDICT Powerful and significant, this is a must-have addition to most collections. Perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.

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