Foreword – April 25, 2022

Despite the chill in the air, we know spring is coming with summer not far behind. We’re hard at work getting ready for summer library program fun!

This week, we’d like to spotlight a favorite picture book that we think all ages will appreciate–Speak Up, written by Wisconsin author Miranda Paul and illustrated by Ebony Glenn

There are times it can be hard to speak up, especially as a child. For example, it can be uncomfortable to correct someone, especially an adult, if they don’t say your name correctly, or you may feel like no one will understand your feelings if you share them. Speak Up explores the many ways we can speak up, which can be as simple as a smile or wave, and depicts typical school-day scenarios in which speaking up is essential to making things better. Speaking up may be life-changing, whether it calls attention to something that is unfair or dangerous and affects many people or helping one person find a bit of comfort on a difficult day. The back matter includes an author’s note about her personal connection to the topic, brief biographies of real kids who spoke up, a list of ways to speak up without talking, and criteria to help youth decide when to speak up! This book tackles a difficult but important topic in a very relatable and big-hearted way that emphasizes the importance of community, kindness, and empathy. The vibrant, cartoon-style illustrations highlight that learning when and how to speak up is something everyone must learn regardless of race, religion, personality, interests, or abilities. The illustrations also capture the joy, elation, and anxiety that can be associated with speaking up. This book is highly recommended for readers of all ages.