I Rise

HarperCollins/Versify. Aug. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358449041.
Gr 6 Up–Being the daughter of a powerful, celebrity Black civil rights activist has not been easy, and 14-year-old Ayomide would like to leave the See Us organization that her mother, Rosalie, formed when she was born and that she is destined to lead, in order to have a normal teen social life. Tragically, her plans to use her traditional birthday scavenger hunt to break with her mother’s movement are dashed when Rosalie is shot by police during a demonstration. Now Ayo must decide if she can pick up the torch and fight for justice for her mother as she deals with her anger and her devastating loss. While her mother lies unconscious and fighting for her life, Ayo uses the birthday scavenger hunt to get to know Rosalie better, and to try to find the strength to follow her destiny. Calling upon her ancestors, her friends, and the Harlem community for help, Ayo arrives at the realization that she is a Black girl in America, and while her fate may have been written in history, she has the power to change the future and to make a difference in her community. Arnold threads Black history, culture, and current events into her narrative, giving the reader a firsthand view of what it means to be young and Black in New York City today through Ayo’s experiences.
VERDICT A powerful and very engaging story of a strong, determined young lady and a call for social justice and understanding.

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