"Hey you...Welcome to the world...I hope that you know you are loved...always."
- Dapo Adeola, Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black
Welcoming a child into the world evokes a lot of emotions. There's so much excitement about meeting this new, little person, as well as feelings of fear....Fear that you won't know exactly what to do or that you'll make mistakes (You will, and that's okay!) or even fear about how your child will fare in this big, complicated world. You become consumed with the overwhelming, all-consuming need to protect them, while also encouraging them to take steps to eventually make their wildest dreams come true.
As a Black mother, my emotions are amplified, with my fears for my child being elevated and me wishing a little harder that my son has the best life. The recently published picture book Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up by Dapo Adeola perfectly captures these feelings. With the help of eighteen Black illustrators (who all showcase their different artistic styles), Adeola's words about the hopes and dreams that a Black parent would have for their child come to life. While acknowledging that others might be prejudiced and unfair, the author urges the child to "love [their] beautiful skin," "question everything," and "pass the love [they] have down to a new generation." Just as a Black mother would for her own child.
Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black
New York: NY: Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, 2021.
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