There have been lots of books in recent years designed to show inspiring and empowering Feminism, encouraging a less toxic form of strength and masculinity and to show that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
But often they are grown ups, rarely child focused with the odd exception for of Malala Yousafzai or more recently Greta Thunberg and occasionally child prodigies.
Rise Up is concerned with the extraordinary actions, stories and experiences of ordinary children, teenagers and young adults around the world who were and/or are creating change in one form or another.
Some include people who went onto continue their greatness as adults but ALL are people who overcame significant challenges whilst children that put a fire in their soul.
Throughout it is gloriously illustrated with bold colours and immersive scenes capturing emotions and place.
I like the way the stories are titled like folk tales often with alliteration such as the Calm Courage Of Desmond Dosa or the Wilderness Walk Of Molly Kelly.
For each story is a short narrative of their achievements and then Another page giving extra context and often hints or tips to be like the hero and sometimes an additional child hero who did something in a similar field such as William Kamkwamba’s achievement with sustainable handmade green energy in Malawi is accompanied by hints on inventing and green choices in the home and a mini profile of Ann Makosinski who invented a thermoelectric torch that runs from the heat of the hand that holds it.
What is really wonderful is that there is such diversity and inclusion of many different experiences across the world and there are some many children of colour showing that everyone has extraordinary within them no matter how poor or privileged they grew up (and yes there are both in this book)
The Struggle to thrive and find a way home whether from institutionalised racism against Aboriginal Children in Australia to survival against the odds with a German Girl who crashed in the Peruvian rainforest. The book honours the fight to survive whether it be North Korean refugees in a daring escape or a young girl who used her courage to survive an alligator attack in the Floridian Everglades.
There is also disability recognition in the ingenuity of Louis Braille, the Paralympic achievements of Ellie Simmonds, Lisa Velásquez challenging bullying, Bethany Hamilton showing that amputees can be the best too and that profound injuries didn’t stop Frida Kahlo becoming an amazing artist.
There is also neurodiversity and further consideration of the role of mental health advocacy such as Kevin Breel.
Overall this is a fantastically inspiring and inclusive book that gives something new every time you read.
Rise Up by Amanda Li and illustrated by Amy Blackwell is published by Buster Books.
Thank you so much for my copy.