Rise Up! The Art of Protest – by Jo Rippon

 Rise Up! The Art of Protest – by Jo Rippon, Charlesbridge, 9781623541507, 2020 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book?  This oversized volume features handsome reproductions of protest art posters, divided by theme: women’s rights, racism, peace, youth activism, LGBTQ rights and environmental awareness. Each section opens with a quote from an activist and then an essay about the issue, followed by posters from various eras. For example, the chapter “Our differences are only skin deep” starts with a simple poster reading “Honor King: End Racism” from a peaceful march led by Coretta Scott King, four days after her husband’s assassination. Also included: A “Free Angela” (1971) in Spanish, a “Remember Wounded Knee” (1973) in tribute to the AIM movement and a plea “Free Nelson Mandela” (1981). I liked that the book included posters from around the world. The reproductions are high quality and have a lot of variety in style and typography. The book was produced in cooperation with Amnesty International.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I was disappointed that despite looking like an art book, there is no discussion of art! Instead, all the focus is on the issues. What would have made this book a standout is some analysis of what makes a poster a knockout, why these particular examples were chosen and what the role of protest art is today in a digitized world. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  It’s attractive for browsing and certainly unique in its content. Teens interested in graphic design will find the artwork eye-catching.

Who should buy this book? High school libraries looking for more relevant art books, public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Several libraries have it in 303.48 (social change) but it could also go with art books in the 700s.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: April 25, 2020

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