When We Say Black Lives Matter (Hardcover)
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In a powerful, poetic missive, award-winning author-illustrator Maxine Beneba Clarke celebrates the meaning behind the words Black Lives Matter.
Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,
we’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.
That we deserve to be treated with basic respect,
and that history’s done us wrong. . . .
Darling, when we sing that Black Lives Matter,
and we’re dancing through the streets,
we’re saying: fear will not destroy our joy,
defiance in our feet.
In this joyful exploration of the Black Lives Matter motto, a loving narrator relays to a young Black child the strength and resonance behind the words. In family life, through school and beyond, the refrains echo and gain in power, among vignettes of protests and scenes of ancestors creating music on djembe drums. With deeply saturated illustrations rendered in jewel tones, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers a gorgeous, moving, and essential picture book.
About the Author
Maxine Beneba Clarke, a writer and slam poet champion of Afro-Caribbean descent, is the author of The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd. About When We Say Black Lives Matter, she says: “I see this picture book as an act of Black love—I was inspired to write and create it when thinking about how to explain the concept of Black Lives Matter to the young African diaspora kids in my extended family, living in over eight different countries across the world.” Maxine Beneba Clarke lives in Australia.
A powerful, painful, and honest celebration of being Black in the world today. This book not only affirms young Black children, but calls on all children to acknowledge the importance of Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement. Without shying away from painful history and hard truths, Clarke, an Australian writer and illustrator of Afro-Caribbean descent, raises the call to bellow, sing, laugh, and cry, “Black Lives Matter”. . . a book that deserves a spot in every library.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Clarke’s text is poignant and mesmerizing, with design elements that raise the text to an artistic level, shaping it around the art and highlighting active and emotional words in color: enough, dancing, radiant, precious. The art is truly outstanding, gripping the heart from the very first spread and not letting go. . . . This slim book contains a necessary and healing exploration of our current moment that will remain relevant for decades to come. An astonishing work of art and a crucial addition to every bookshelf.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)