The Artivist

Penguin/Kokila. Sept. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593619650.
Gr 2-4–In simple words accompanying art that seems to explode off the page, Smith articulates his mission as an artist and an activist: “I will sketch and draw and scribble and paint the broken bones I see and the healing I hope for.” In his vigorously brushed images a small, curly-haired young muralist with brown skin witnesses a series of emblematic scenes from people forced into homelessness and hunger to children protesting gun violence and commemorating lives lost to it, expressing support for trans kids, and standing up to those who threaten the environment—and then invites readers to join in the crusade to spark healing in their own creative, individual ways. “We Rise,” proclaims a ribbon looping around young figures joyfully dancing, painting, writing, and filming. “The artivist is you,” the author concludes, urging his audience to “visualize a path forward that allows for true healing, equity, and inclusion.
VERDICT Children with strong creative impulses will hear the call to action in this ringing statement of purpose.

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