What a good starting point for young girls and women to decide what part they wish to play in our world. Jasmine and Chelsea, two New York City teens, living their truth by fighting sexism, racism, and other harmful aspects make the story, Watch Us Rise, written by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan.
Despite attending a progressive high school, they feel muted voices around them, especially those possessed by girls and women. To change the muting of said voices, they create an after-school club based on women’s rights. In this club, they discuss women’s history, platform their poetry and writings, and open discussions on what they, and fellow supporters, see around them.
However, not everyone’s on board and the girls must decide how strong their fight prevails and how they will exist in this world.
I love this story. Well-written. Great pacing. Characterization that feels real and true. The girls come from strong and involved families. Conflict arising as the story progresses reflect instances that many young girls and women handle on a daily basis.
While the messaging can get a bit heavy-handed, topics included in this story, such as misogynoir, misogyny, racism, and classism, present themselves for spring-boarding conversations high schools deserve. Libraries ought to invest in books, such as these, to allow students to cope with issues that, honestly, in my day, was washed over as a means to continue the status quo.
Bottom line: Watson and Hagan presents a book which libraries require. Books that make us think. Books that makes us talk. Books that make us listen.
More importantly, books that make us grow.