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The subtitle says it all. These words have the power to heal the hearts of readers. This book spoke to my heart already in the dedication. "for Zion and all the children who miss the hand they used to hold...trust that you will laugh again and love again once your heart has had time to heal." Anyone who has lost a loved one can connect with this wish for the young ones.
Readers will accompany a young child who's sharing about the many emotions hiding within. The words are gorgeous, but so are the illustrations. And the illustrations add information. Readers will need to read those too or they may miss a lot.
Unfortunately, there are still way too many communities and families reeling due to police shootings and other instances of violence by the hands of the state. This book is one way for readers to find their way to healing. Children and their loved ones or caregivers will have opportunities to reflect on their own emotions and ways that they can express and experience them. I see this as a path to meaningful discussions or even just a way for loved ones to sit with each other in their pain and healing.
There is beauty in the strength and the hope that this young Black child finds when looking within and when looking at his community.
Recommendation: I highly recommend this book for any home or shared library that serves young people. Anyone can find healing within the pages of this book, but I think that this is particularly true for Black readers. There are certainly ugly things happening, but that is not where the poem ends. The young person feels pride in knowing that through the struggle, his people have emerged strong. In the face of everything, he is able to show compassion and love and so are others in his community. I believe it will move readers toward healing, but will also be empowering. I hope it gets in the hands of many, many readers.
I read an early copy of this remarkable book. It's the story of a young boy's emotional journey after a police shooting in his neighborhood - handled in a delicate and age-appropriate way for a picture book audience. Vibrant art paints a vivid picture of community healing. Absolutely gorgeous and groundbreaking.
This poem/picture book hooks you with the beautiful use of language and the detailed artwork. What stuck out to me are the layers of feelings shared - joy, sorrow, fear, anger, pride, peace, compassion. This is a book that when shared with students, will lead to many conversations. In the uncertainty of this time, knowing that all of these feelings exist within ourselves and that they are okay is so important. Thank you to @mackids for providing a review copy. I can't wait to purchase this for my library.
The warm, soothing palette and arresting compositions steer us through waves of emotion in this potent verse detailing the emotions of a young person grappling with the pain of violence, and the resilience and strength of his community.