Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, & Olivia Gatwood, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III [CeCe’s Book Review]

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to JusticeWoke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne
Published: March 2020
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood deliver one thought-provoking, call to action poem after another. Pause with each poem. Take each one in and contemplate what stirs up inside you and how you might use your voice to advocate for justice. Rock the boat. Shake things up. Raise your fist. Raise your voice. Pick up your pen. Just don’t slumber as one who walks this earth with their eyes wide shut.

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice is recommended for ages 8-12. It is beautifully illustrated by Theodore Taylor III and includes a contribution from our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds. Don’t ask me to choose a favorite poem because I’d be hard-pressed to pick just one. Instead, ask me which one shared a familiar experience, one that I can relate to, to which I would answer, Mahogany L. Browne’s Amari Explains a Frown to her Little Brother. Ask me which one I would read over and over again to encourage my students to use their voice to make a difference and I would respond with Elizabeth Acevedo’s Rock the Boat. Or ask me which poem I would share to help start a discussion in my classroom about privilege, to which I would proclaim Olivia Gatwood’s What’s In My Toolbox? and that I would use it to help us consider what it might mean to leverage those resources we have for the betterment and uplifting of others. In other words, each poem in this collection is powerful. The bottom line is this, read Woke, and answer its call for justice. Period.

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Mahogany L. Browne | https://mobrowne.com/index.html

Elizabeth Acevedo | http://www.acevedowrites.com/

Olivia Gatwood | https://www.oliviagatwood.com/

Jason Reynolds | https://www.jasonwritesbooks.com/

Roaring Brook Press | https://us.macmillan.com/publishers/roaring-brook-press/

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