We love reading books that are so simple but with an impactful message. With Black History month quickly approaching (February), Hands Up! would make a great addition to your child’s reading line-up.
A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they life their hands up together in resistance and strength.
Beyond the Words
Many children books, there is a message or lesson learned in them. Hands Up! is no exception. This picture book wants to reclaim the phrase “hands up” in a more positive light for young black children. By using the phrase in positive everyday activities and life occasions, it lessens the negative use of it in media in connection with police violence.
Hands Up! is a way to start conversations with children on the negative use of the word and let them know there are positive uses for it. With the final spread in the story of the peaceful protest it shows a healthy way to engage with your community and make your voice heard.
We truly love books that try to do more than just tell a story and Hands Up! gives that opportunity to parents to do just that. We love how the book has this impactful message without having it right there in front of you. This gives the parent the option to discuss it if they choose to. The book reinforces positive images and it is an adorable read for a child. The illustrations in the book compliment the story well and we love the use of colors throughout the book. These illustrations brought the book to life in our perspective.
Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Hands Up! 5 hands up out of 5! We are delighted to announce that this book has just been released and is now available for purchasing. If you would like to purchase your very own, click here. Recommended for children ages four to eight.
About The Author & Illustrator
Breanna J. McDaniel is an author and children’s literature scholar. She holds an MA in children’s literature from Simmons College and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, where her research focuses on representations of black children in contemporary picture books. She is originally from Atlanta and currently lives in the United Kingdom. This is her first book.
Shane W. Evans is the author and illustrator of more than thirty books for children, including Chocolate Me!, We March and Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, which received the Coretta Scott King Illustration Award. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he runs Dream Studio, a community art space.
*The book was provided in exchange for an honest review by Momma Braga. No other compensation was provided.