Friday, July 13, 2018


Like so many Americans, I live in a constant state of disbelief. Pretty much every day, and often several times a day, I say to myself, "How can this be happening?" And I send emails and sign petitions and make phone calls and give money and march and wonder when this nightmare will be over. I spend a lot of time, too,  wondering what to say to the children and young adults in my life.

Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson are releasing a new collection that may help, just a little. In the introduction to WE RISE, WE RESIST, WE RAISE OUR VOICES they describe waking up the day after the election, wondering what they could say to the young people in their lives:

"We grew up in the segregated south, when life for us was much different than it is today. Racial discrimination, prejudice, and hatred against African Americans were pervasive. We were prohibited from going to school with White children, so we went to all-Black schools. We couldn't go to the public library that Whites used. We were forced to sit in a "special section" in movie theaters. We couldn't even try on clothes or shoes from the stores downtown. Our parents had to purchase them , bring them home, and then see if they were a good fit. If they weren't they couldn't be returned…

This segregated but unequal system we were forced to endure was extremely trying and often frightening. Yet in our all-Black communities, we were embraced by accepting arms, motivated by encouraging words, and shelted by watchful eyes that probed for signs of lurking dangers seeking to engulf us. We were loved! We knew it! we could feel it!…

"How could we share this valuable advice with you?" we thought. "How could we let you know that there are nuggets of sustenance for you just as there were for us when we were your age?"

That's how the idea for this treasury was born…

WE RISE, WE RESIST, WE RAISE OUR VOICES is a collection of more than fifty texts- poems, prose, letters, essays, and art, all by contemporary authors of color. People like Arnold Adoff, Kwame Alexander, Joseph Bruchac, Ashley Bryan, Floyd Cooper, Sharon Draper, Margarita Engle, Tony Medina, Marilyn Nelson, Ellen Oh, Eric Velasquez, Rita Williams-Garcia, Jacqueline Woodson, and oh, so many more. The book doesn't come out until early September, but it's definitely one you will want to preorder. Here are two of the many poems I know I will use.

We've Got You
Pat Cummings

The storm is coming.
There is always a storm
But we've got you.
We've weathered the fury
you're heading into
and we know how to shelter.
How to gather force.
We've seen where the storm
     is weak.
We've got you.
So tuck in,
     stay close,
        grow strong.
We're here. You're wind.

            And you?
                   You're our coming storm.

A Talkin-To
Jason Reynolds

I could tell you all the bad things,
all the bad things that cut and scare
and howl and growl and gnash and
bear teeth, bright and sharp that
glint in the moonlight.

I could tell you all that's frightening,
all that's frightening and lurking
and looming and hiding in the brush,
razor-hair pricked up on the back
of something too sly to see.

I could tell you about all the loud things,
all the loud things that scream
and shriek and shred our ability to hear
each other, the beasts behind screens,
scrolling banners of bully-banter

I could tell you all the things
all the things that are trying to tell you
about you, about how you should run,
and how you should run,
and how you should run,
but I'm about you above all things,
above all things, so I'd rather tell you
one thing and one thing only:

everything bad and frightening and loud
will always hide when you hold your head up,
will always hide when you hold your heart out,
will always sing a shrinking song
when you fly.

Sylvia Vardell is hosting Poetry Friday today. She and Janet Wong are releasing another fabulous new poetry collection! This one is for school leaders! I know what will be on my administrators' desks the first day of school.


Linda B said...

The day after the election one of my former students, now a teacher, wrote me to ask for advice as to what to tell her students? We keep in touch, and like you, Carol, wonder how this can be every single day. I keep fighting too! Thanks for sharing this, I put it on the list & will look for it. "We've Got You" is a helpful sentence we could all use and use again.

Kathryn Apel said...

'We've got you.' How beautiful! Sad - but beautiful and reassuring, too.

Mary Lee said...

In my Amazon cart in 3..2..1..

This looks FABULOUS!

Sally Murphy said...

Two such powerful poems - this is an anthology which I think would fly well in Australia too. Hugs to you as you continue to fight the good fight.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for joining the Poetry Friday gathering and for this glimpse of this beautiful book. I agree with you entirely-- it's a gem for any time, but so NECESSARY right now!

Buffy Silverman said...

Thanks for highlighting this book--gonna put it on my wishlist!

Kay said...

This looks fabulous I'm adding it to my list to read and share and share some more. Despite the howling winds of this day I do take hope that people are raising their voices and rising and resisting.

Ramona said...

Thanks for sharing this book with us. It's crucial to get books like this out there. I'm requesting it from the library now. Hopefully it's on order!

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for reviewing this timely book Carol, I look forward to reading it!

Margaret Simon said...

I got an ARC at ALA and I'm loving this book. It's so uplifting and full of spirit, not hatred or anger. And all the amazing voices! Thanks for reviewing.