'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 1 September 2023

Review: Stand Up And Speak Out Against Racism

‘Yassmin Abdel-Magied answers real children’s questions about racism, giving them the confidence and the tools to work towards a fairer society for all.’

This important, colourful, magazine-style book contains loads of interesting info in a user-friendly format. Its language is clear and accessible. 

Complex ideas are presented simply where possible, aided by the use of boxes, images, different fonts and colours, speech bubbles and more. 

If you’re into brainstorming with fluorescent markers and colour-coding, then you’re in for a real treat! 

Although it is very friendly-looking, the book does not shy away from deeper, difficult concepts and ideas. It takes us by the hand to show us the reasons that racism exists; how it began, how it spread, and how (and why) it continues today. 

This book acknowledges that racism can be a very emotive topic for people. All people. There is a fine line between reading a book like this one, and feeling guilty and/or responsible around the ideas of racism. Author Abdel-Magied traverses this tightly balanced highwire with ease and grace.

As a privileged white reader, I did not feel blamed or judged at all, although to be fair there were definitely times when I squirmed in my seat. Overall, the main things I felt were curiosity and a sense of compassion which made me want to take positive action. Luckily, there are many ideas for standing up and speaking out against racism at the end of the book, along with a comprehensive glossary.

One thing that did trip me up a little was the physical colour in the pages of the book itself, particularly those that were dark. I found that at times I needed to hold the book closer to my light source (an apt metaphor if we’re looking for one!) in order to be able to read the text on the dark page.

There are English/UK references throughout the text as the book was first published there; however, the information and calls to action are relevant for all nationalities. 

This book is empowering, liberating and even a little bit exciting: If every person who reads it committed to making one consistent change around speaking out and standing up against racism, we might see genuine and lasting change.

Highly recommended.

Title: Stand Up And Speak Out Against Racism
Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Illustrator: Aleesha Nandhra
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 2 August 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406393712
For ages: 9+
Type: Non-Fiction