Stand up! Speak up! by Andrew Joyner

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Andrew Joyner is a master at saying a lot with few words. His playful illustrations (in black and white with pops of green), combined with carefully chosen words call children to action and instil them with agency. This is a call to arms, letting children know that they do have the ability to change their world, as well as reminding adults to support them (and join them). It is poignant that it is the adults listening to and following the lead of the children, as this is what we have seen happening around the world (Greta Thunberg being just one example). Some of these young people are profiled in the back of the book, highlighting what they are speaking out about and how they have got people to listen.

The text itself is made up entirely of two word sentences, the second word of which is 'up'. From 'wake up' to 'meet up' to 'think up' to 'listen up' it chronicles a short period of time in a young girl's life. After attending a climate change demonstration she watches the environmental degradation shown on the evening news. A sleepless night leads to her taking action: thinking, writing, sharing with others and initiating change. Not only does the book champion speaking out but it shows practical actions that can make a big difference: recycling, cleaning up our beaches, walking rather than driving, growing our own vegetables and swapping clothing. The illustrations also depict a wonderfully diverse community.

This is a hopeful and important book that can and should be used to initiate rich discussions about sustainable practices. Fans of Joyner's similar title The Pink Hat (about marching for women's equality) will be particularly happy. 

Themes: Climate change, Social activism.

Nicole Nelson