It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
I love how these two picturebooks are uplifting, empowering, and recognize how children are able to make a difference, however small, in their tiny universe.
Hands Up! [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written by Breanna J. McDaniel Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Published by Dial Books (2019)
ISBN: 0525552316 (ISBN13: 9780525552314). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
As can be seen in this bright book cover, the word “Hands Up!” has been reframed by the book creators from something that evokes fear and anger to something that brings about joy and exuberance.
In the Author’s Note found at the end of the book, she explained:
For many people, the phrase “hands up” brings forward difficult emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, and fear. With this story, I wanted to emphasize the ways I’ve experienced that phrase as part of my everyday life: at home, at play, in church, and at protests with young people leading the way.
I enjoyed the rhythm of the narrative, the carefree way in which one’s hands are raised – not in surrender, but in freedom and abandon and faith. The act is voluntary and ultimately empowering. I love the image above as it reminds me of myself, always reaching high to get the books from my shelves.
I also found the Illustrator’s Note to be especially moving:
This brilliant reminder from Breanna helped guide me back to lifting my hands in joy. I stopped being afraid of raising my hands up, and stretching them high felt right. It felt good to celebrate. So, to you all: Celebrate with me. HANDS UP!
I find the image above to be quite powerful – it demonstrates how hands can also be lifted up to lift others. Here’s to raising our hands up collectively as a community – as a form of protest, as a symbol of joy and freedom.
Get Up, Stand Up [Amazon | Book Depository]
Based on the song by Bob Marley Adapted By Cedella Marley Illustrated by John Jay Cabuay
Published by Chronicle Books (2019)
ISBN: 1452171726 (ISBN13: 9781452171722). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
In this book, Cedella Marley has adapted her father, Bob Marley’s song to a picturebook narrative for children. This is not the first time she has done this successfully. I have featured her One Love (also based on her father’s song) and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Amazon | Book Depository) here.
In Get Up, Stand Up – the role of young people of color serving as an active defender when witnessing bullying incidents had been portrayed through images, the visual narrative adding another layer to the song lyrics:
It may take awhile to figure out what is happening based on the images, but it also provides spaces for young readers to come up with their own interpretation or derive meaning from what is going on and what it means.
It demonstrates how young people can reach out, “get up, stand up” and do something when they witness another person being ostracized, made fun of, or left out of a group. The dance moves in the image above would be the perfect complement as children listen to the original song of Bob Marley. Here is a youtube live performance of Bob Marley performing “Get Up, Stand Up” in Munich. Enjoy!
#ReadIntl2020 Update: Authors/illustrators of both books are POC.