Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatewood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, foreword by Jason Reynolds

Published by Roaring Brook Press

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice: Browne, Mahogany L., Acevedo ...

Woke | Mahogany L. Browne | Macmillan

Summary:  What does it mean to be woke?  Mahogany Browne answers this question in her introduction:  awake, eyes open, seeing everything around you.  Sometimes what you see will seem unfair, and it’s important to speak up about that.  The two dozen poems by three different writers explore this concept, looking at such topics as community, empathy, gender, immigration, equality, and more.  Each poem gets its own two-page spread with a colorful illustration.  Includes a poem and foreword by Jason Reynolds.  56 pages; grades 3-8.

Pros:  Add this book to your Black Lives Matter reading lists, or any social justice collection.  Each poem is worthy of individual attention and discussion.  My favorites were “Say the Names” by Elizabeth Acevedo and “A Me-Shaped Box” by Olivia Gatwood.  The illustrations reminded me of Raina Telgemeier’s and Victoria Jamieson’s graphic novels, which offer near-universal appeal to kids.

Cons:  I tried reading this book in one sitting, and it started to feel a bit heavy.  I think the poems would be better savored and discussed one at a time. 

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