Review Blog

May 29 2019

Watch us rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526600868.
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Highly inspirational, this work will be the perfect read for young women and men everywhere. The main characters, Jasmine and Chelsea, take turns in fleshing out a refreshingly satisfying multi-layered story of making a difference in today's world. There is an accessible complexity to this work that embraces intersectionality to explore feminism, discrimination, misogyny and institutionalised racism through poetry and prose. The writing highlights influencers such as: The Dark Room Collective, Tracy K. Smith, Kevin Young, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Gloria Steinem, Natalie Diaz, Sarah Jones, Reena Saini Kallat and Henrietta Lacks.
Jasmine and Chelsea want to make a difference - now. They both, in differing ways, struggle with how to 'Write like a girl' and negotiate the political landscape that seeks to restrain public advocacy by women. One touching aspect of the work is the way it sensitively reflects on blind spots. Even a woke activist can act in ways that others see as unjust - and importantly a true friend will help you see your blind spot and stand by you as you move forward.
This work gently encourages intergenerational relationships as fundamental to fully developing as a human being and plotting a path for effective change making in the world. These relationships (positive and negative) provide an impetus for growth in the characters portrayed in the story.
Additionally the work explores love and grief through family and romantic relationships. Everyday lives are complex and it is this complexity that balances the fervent desire for change Jasmine and Chelsea fight for.
Linda Guthrie

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