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Hold Them Close

This book is absolutely incredible, a storytelling masterpiece, a lyrical moving book that brought me to tears and still does each time I read it!

Genre: Picture Book

Ages: 5-8

Author: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Illustrator: Patrick Douglas with Photos by Jamel Shabazz

Published by Harper Kids

A poetic book that asks black children to hold on to the good moments, hold on to their families, hold on to the smiles and happy times, hold them super close. And push away bad moments, but when you cannot push it away and you feel the sadness of the past, the great sadness, let the tears come.

The book reminds the reader to search for the sun and shout that you matter. Hold your memories and love close and never let go.

I am a huge fan of books with lyrical words, and photographs used with illustrations, and honestly, this book is so beautiful both visually and in words, that it is hard for me to even vocalize how gorgeous and heart moving it is. It truly is a must have book, a book that every child should read, no matter who they are.

This book is an ode to black children and yet one that makes my heart ache because black children should not have to experience the heart break of racism.

The gentle words combined with the subdued hues in the pictures moves the reader on an emotional journey in which one feels a full range of feelings and feels changed by the end.

The book gently discusses issues such as systemic racism, slavery, incarceration, civil rights, and more, and the photographs of Black history change makers helps make the book even more impactful.

The authors and illustrators notes were moving and impactful too and I hope everyone grabs a copy of this book to change the world, whether in helping little readers see themselves or as being readers who can stand up against injustice and systemic racism.

The book concludes with historical information on moments to hold on to and change makers and truth-tellers of the Black community, and moments to not look away from.

Def a must have on every shelf.


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