Blog tour: ‘When We Say Black Lives Matter,’ by Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Today I have the great pleasure of sharing a very timely and important book which gently introduces young readers to the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement and the power of speaking out.

A beautifully illustrated and poignant picture book about the Black Lives Matter movement – it’s deep history, background and meaning – as well as a focus on the tremendous amount of work still left to do. Through author-illustrator Maxine Beneba Clarke’s glorious artwork and lyrical text, this book fosters activism, being anti-racist and using your voice and your power for good.’

For me, this tale is told as by an elder to a child, passing on collective wisdom and planting seeds of hope to blossom in the future. It is a call to action, a rally cry, a lament for past wrongs.

The story sensitively explores the historical mistreatment of Black people and, sadly, brings us up-to-date by alluding to the recent high-profile murders. This is all done in a very sensitive, age-appropriate way, through the use of chalk outlines and police tape in the illustrations.

The illustrations feature people of varied skin tones, and all of ages. The fact that they have been left faceless mean that they represent the many as well as individuals. Children may well be able to imagine themselves in the various situations represent in the book and empathise with the characters portrayed.

Towards the end, the book rises to a hopeful, celebratory crescendo. Imploring children to embrace their inner magic and reach for the stars. An important message to be shared with all children!

It is through powerful books like this that we can open children’s eyes and minds to the world around them. To empathise with people who are different, but also similar to, themselves. All schools should be developing a collection packed with diverse, inclusive titles just like these.

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Wren & Rook for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*

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