On Our Shelves Now
This triumphant picture book celebrates Black joy by reclaiming a charged phrase and showing readers how resistance can be part of their everyday lives.
A young Black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.
About the Author
Breanna J. McDaniel is an author and children's literature scholar. She holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons University and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where her research focuses on representations of Black children in contemporary picture books. Born and raised in Atlanta, she currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Shane W. Evans is the author and illustrator of more than thirty books for children, including Chocolate Me!, We March, and Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, which received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he runs Dream Studio, a community art space.
Praise for Hands Up!
"This book turns the phrase [hands up] on its head to give little ones confidence and pride, culminating in activism."
"In dynamic multi-media art, family, friends, and community fill one African-American girl's life with love. . . . Hands Up! can singularly or simultaneous serve as a kid-friendly preview of growing up, as catalyst for a conversation about the dangers of being black in America, and/or as determined reclamation of a loaded phrase."
—San Francisco Chronicle
“The epitome of #blackgirljoy . . . Empowering.”
* “McDaniel’s debut picture book offers a jubilant paean to a universal, everyday occurrence . . . Spare, deeply expressive mixed-media pictures by Evans feature vivid colors and inventive textures, and they underscore the power of helping hands. . . . An uplifting celebration of advocating for oneself, aiding those in need, and connecting with one’s community.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* “This successfully delivers a message of everyday celebration in one simple gesture. As an introduction for children to social activism, this book will serve well. A terrific read-aloud for one-on-one and small group sharing.”
—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Sobering and celebratory both, writer and artist triumphantly assure all audiences, especially young black readers, 'You matter.'"
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration of their humanity.”
“A book that highlights the joys of black and brown childhood while it positions very young children as leaders and agents of change.”
—The Horn Book