When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke

The Blurb On The Back:

Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,

We’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.

That we deserve to be treated with basic respect,

And that history’s done us wrong. 

Explore the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement – and the incredible power of speaking out – with award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke.

You can order WHEN WE SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER by Maxine Beneba Clarke from Amazon UKAmazon USAWaterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Maxine Beneba Clarke’s beautifully self-illustrated picture book for children aged 5+ is a simple but lyrical and powerful explanation of why the Black Lives Matter movement exists and what it stands for together with the historic and systematic wrongs suffered by black people.  It’s done in a way that young children can follow and understand what it’s about while also feeling hope for the future.

I really liked the illustrations in this book – the colour choices are bold but also earthy and the decision not to put features on the characters’ faces allows children to translate the emotions of the scene from their positioning and what’s happening.  It’s very effective and helps to develop emotional intelligence.  Each section is addressed to a nameless loved one – a child – but there is nothing patronising in the language.  Beneba Clarke writes clearly and with conviction and without sugar coating the message she is conveying to the reader.  These sentences are probably best read out loud – a parent or guardian to a child or a teacher to a class – and the lyrical nature of the words and the emotions behind them give them a lot of power.  For all the explanation of why Black Lives Matter, there is a message of hope as much as there is of strength and suffering.

If you’re looking to introduce the topic of racism or Black Lives Matter to your little one, then I think that this book is an excellent place to start.

WHEN WE SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER was released in the United Kingdom on 24th June 2021.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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