Hey You! is the latest picturebook by Dapo Adeola and a copy is needed in every primary school library. An author and illustrator who has already taken children’s picturebooks by storm with Look Up! and Clean Up! – his latest visual feast is a collaboration with 18 illustrators resulting in an empowering celebration of growing up Black. Each contributor has a double-page spread in which to convey the message of Adeola’s advice to the young Black child. The whole picturebook is skilfully woven together with the visual thread of sunflowers on every spread.
The message of hope in the book is clear and, as Adeola says, the words are those he wishes he’d heard as a child: be true to yourself, be proud of your heritage and create your own stories. In addition to these affirmative messages, the text and images represent the very real struggles the child may face: lack of representation in books, lack of understanding of Black hair and the very real struggles and threats that led to the Black Lives Matter movement.
It is a beautiful, heart-warming picturebook and rightly written with the Black child reader in mind, yet the book is for everyone – it provides “mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors” (Dr Rudine Sims Bishop https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf )
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