Stand Up! Speak Up!: A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution – by Andrew Joyner

  Stand Up! Speak Up!: A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution – by Andrew Joyner, Schwartz & Wade Books, 9780593301586, 2020

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? This is a short, simple, and powerful book. Each sentence is two words long and ends with “up” – Wake up. Meet up. Signs up. Rise up. But these few simple words follow the inspiring story of a young girl as she is energized when she first takes part in a climate change rally, then disappointed by watching the news, and then motivated and inspired to stand up and make a difference in her community. Like the text, the illustrations are both simple and complex. They are mostly black and white with pops of color (usually green) to highlight and focus the readers’ eyes on specific elements – including the girl and her dog, signs at the rally, pink hats, the sun rising, and her petition. The illustrations show the diversity of the movement, including mostly children but also adults of all ages, with different skin color, different hair types, some wearing glasses or hijabs or using wheelchairs. The illustrations also highlight the variety of ways children can work to help the climate in their own community, including swapping books and clothes, gardening and composting, recycling, educating ourselves and others, cleaning up the streets, using public transportation, walking and biking to travel, and more. In case readers need further inspiration after the story, (they probably won’t!) backmatter includes multiple examples of young people around the world fighting for climate change in their own communities. I especially like how the focus is not white children or children in the United States. Greta Thunberg is unsurprisingly one example, but comes after more than ten other examples of less well-known young people doing just as incredible work. 

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing!

To whom would you recommend this book? I would use this with young people at all ages in elementary school. Younger readers could practice reading the words and explore the detailed illustrations, and older readers could plan to take more targeted action. This would be a great read aloud for Earth Day or to go along with a science or civics unit. Read-alike with Speak Up (Miranda Paul) and Say Something (Peter Reynolds).

Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Date of review: Oct. 18, 2020

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