The power, the lyricism, the images, the layers- this book is not just for children, it is for everyone. I have spent time with this book and it cannot be rushed, it needs to be felt and explored and reflected upon to feel the emotion that seeps from each and every page. The book is remarkable in the amount of hope and warmth combined with history and social activism present. It weaves together the personal with the community with the struggle past and present so flawlessly, but for me it is the pictures that complement the text so well that make this book spectacular on so many levels. It is not a book for me to review, it is a book for me to support and elevate in any way I can. The author is Muslim, there is nothing Islam specific in the text, aside from mentioning Malcolm X, and it should be required reading and sharing for everyone. May Allah swt make us better to one another and actively work against oppression, ameen.
The book is framed as a letter, encouraging happy things to be held close. For the young and old with stars in their eyes to be be held and elevated. For stories of greatness to be passed down. Stories of Kings, of Sojourners and Malcolms.
The book encourages pushing away the disappointments, but to let the tears come. To not forget the lynchings, slavery, police brutality, oppression. To stand and make it heard that you matter.
The illustrations are a mix of photographs and collage style layers. The joy in a child that is very real, carrying those that came before. Images of the past pulled to be seen in the present, very much a part of today. The colors, the expressions, the hope, it radiates off the page with the coaxing of the text and becomes a feeling of both being held, and feeling support to take the next step. Absolutely beautiful from beginning to end.
The backmatter contains an Author’s Note, Illustrator’s Note, Background information, and Selected Sources.
Available in libraries and book sellers, including here.