Synopsis from Sourcebooks:
This empathetic and inclusive picture book empowers kids to love themselves and their identities, stand up to hate, and have each others’ backs no matter what.
When I say something is unfair to me, but it’s fair for you, what does that make it?
When I meditate, it all gets clear.
And if you listen, you will really hear.
I am not alone. I am enough.
It can be scary to feel like you’re all on your own, especially in the face of prejudice. But always remember: you are not alone! Based on the Grammy award nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers’ empowering song, “Not Alone,” this uplifting picture book reminds kids that they always belong. Encouraging words invite readers to love their beautiful selves, celebrate their identities, and use their voices against hate, You Are Not Alone asks us to step up for each other and have each others’ backs, no matter what.
About: You Are Not Alone is a children’s picture book written by Alphabet Rockers and illustrated by Ashley Evans. It was published on 1/11/2022 by Sourcebooks Explore, hardcover, 56 pages. The genres are children’s book, picture book, activism, lgbt, and cultural. This book is intended for readers ages 4 to 8, grades P to 3. According to the publisher’s website, “Sourcebooks’ mission is to reach as many people as possible through books that will enlighten their lives. We are a company bound together by the idea that Books. Change. Lives. For us, it means a passion for books and a dedication to the belief that books change lives. It means innovative publishing, where every book is personal and every author’s voice has a place. And it means not being afraid to say “I don’t know” and forging a new path when we have to. We are a group of passionate, energetic and enthusiastic book lovers, and we are committed to helping readers experience each book.” Please see below for more information about the author, illustrator, and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading You Are Not Alone for my toddler’s bedtime on 1/31/2022 and we finished it that same night. We have since read it again a few times, especially study through the illustrations. I liked that my toddler learned some new terms from this book such as roller skates, skateboard, helmet, etc. There are abundant of learning opportunities for young readers reading this book. From the storyline’s message to the different colorful illustrations. Readers are able to learn that there are other kids like them, someone to relate to. I love the boy’s night view outside of his room. I like the diversity in this book and the different kids activities they do. Readers will not learn of the boy’s name but I’m guessing it’s the author.
This book followed a dark skinned boy who wanted readers to know something about him. That he and readers are the same where both can see sunrise and sunset when look upon the sky. Readers may not know him is that he doesn’t feel safe by the color of his skin. He hopes that readers don’t have to feel the same way he does. If readers knew him, readers would think he’s “powerful, brave, and brilliant.” He wants readers to take the time to see him and others. He’s frustrated that people pronounced his name incorrectly and even made a face by the sound of it. He appreciates that his friend knows how to pronounce his name and even corrects people when they got it wrong. And that makes him feel safe like he was at home. The following page he engages readers with a question about feelings. He says he has big feelings but he doesn’t feel safe sharing it. When he expresses that certain things were unfair to him when others said it’s fair for them then what? If readers understand him then he wants readers to know that readers are not alone, that we are enough, and that he hears us. He’s a DJ and he makes music to let readers know that “there’s no limit to being you.” He reminds readers that we shouldn’t ask him questions we have a gut feeling that it’s not good because it will make him feel bad. He just wants everyone to love him for him without asking him about his body parts though it’s okay to ask what binary is.
You Are Not Alone is a picture book that brings in together everyone who feels alone because he/she/they/them hasn’t been accepted for who he/she/they/them is/are. This boy in this children’s book wants everyone to know that they are not alone and that he will stand with them. This book included children of all colors and backgrounds as well as who they said they are on the inside. I like that this book is interactive where the boy asks readers to stand up with him to support kids being exactly who they want to be. He encourages kids to share their stories and ideas: “pen it, sing it, play it.” And to basically “get loud” especially when they don’t see their stories or their community written in a book. This book is a reminder that we all belong.
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author and Illustrator:
Alphabet Rockers make music that makes change, creating brave spaces for children and families to stand up to hate and be their courageous, beautiful selves. Led by Tommy Soulati Shepherd and Kaitlin McGaw, Alphabet Rockers get young people to talk about self-love and justice while living it. They empower youth to embody change, advocate for others, and imagine a world they can be seen in and thrive in. Alphabet Rockers are based in Oakland, CA, on the unceded land of the Chochenyo Ohlone people. (Photo obtained from the author’s Instagram page and info obtained from the book, book pictures obtained from Edelweiss).
Ashley Evans is your friendly neighborhood illustrator! She loves creating colorful, fun, and dynamic images, especially if they are figurative or portraits. Born and raised in Queens, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her boyfriend and their daughter. When she’s not creating art, you can find her decorating cakes, enjoying her family, or catching a much-needed nap! (Photo obtained from the publisher’s website and info obtained from the book).
More Information about Sourcebooks
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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Sourcebooks Kids for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.