Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hands Up!” as Want to Read:
Hands Up!
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hands Up!

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  144 reviews
This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl's everyday life--hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five--before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march.

A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a ch
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Dial Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  625 ratings  ·  144 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hands Up!
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids; Parents
So this book shows a little black girl growing up in America. It has her raising her hands up for various things in her life. Greeting the sun, playing peek-a-boo, getting dressed, stretching to reach something on a shelf, using the sink, holding her hair back, swinging on her mom and dad's arms,

raising hands in class, reaching for the book on the high shelf, going into fifth position in ballet, riding a bike with hands in the air,

accepting help when she falls, raising her hands at a concert,
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books

Hands up! What comes to mind when you hear those two words together? Sadly, for me, I think of apprehension and blue flashing lights and fear. Breanna McDaniel’s Hands Up! takes those words back!

This book uses and says “hands up!” in happy or everyday ways. With a timeline of events from baby to toddler to teen, the words are paired up with peek-a-boo, dancing, unity, and more. These beautiful pages bring the joy back into the words. And puts the joy back in our hands!

“High fives all around, ha
This picture book is beautiful, honest, relevant, thought-provoking, and sweet. I am grateful it exists for children, students, and families everywhere. #BlackJoy
Rod Brown
I love the idea of the book as outlined in the author's note at the end, but the words and pictures that proceeded that statement just didn't click for me, lying flat on the page.

My tags: (view spoiler)
Susan Tan
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is STUNNING. Beautiful, energetic, and joyful.
A delightful and beautifully crafted book that celebrates all the joyful ways to have your Hands Up! This is a much needed reminder (and counter story) to the negative and usually less than nuanced single narrative of the phrase Hands Up!
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
This book. THIS BOOK! What a gorgeous story.
tracy lou
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is as bright and beautiful as its author.
A positive portrayal of being told to put your "hands up!"--singing in church, getting dressed, fixing hair, 5th position in ballet ("graceful like Ms. Misty"), playing defense in basketball, and high fives. Last page shows everyone with hands up at a rally holding signs that say, "Black Lives Matter," "Water=Life," and "Ningun ser humano es ilegal." Not many words on each page--short and simple. Would be great for reading to a group of children as they could put their hands up for each action. ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands Up is learning, growing, and reaching. It's praise, it's perseverance, it's love. Wonderful, colorful illustrations with a beautiful depiction of family, achievement, and self-confidence. This picture book has captured my heart, and I can't wait to share it with everybody! Audiences young and old will adore Hands Up.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is hidden power in this book, reclaiming the act of "hands up" and putting a positive, joyful spin on it.
Bonnie Grover
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lift your hands in joy and celebration! This book helps students see how important their voices and lives are. Its sure to be a favorite for adults and kids. Thank you #BookPosse for the early read.
Cheryl Gladfelter
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, picture-book
Shows all the ways a young black girl raises her hands during her life--getting dressed, ballet class, basketball, and protests are some examples. A beautifully illustrated book.
Alex  Baugh
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Morning comes and young Viv stretches her hands up high to greet the sun, and she continues to put her hands throughout the day. First, getting dressed, then reaching the water running in the sink to wipe up a spill, and later holding her hair up while grandma combs it and puts it in a bun, still later, Viv reaches high in school hoping to be called on by her teacher Ms. B.

In the library, Viv reaches up for a book on a high shelf, and gracefully raises her arms like Misty Copeland in ballet clas
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m always on the lookout for new books illustrated by Shane W. Evans, one of my favorites. This joyous book for children aged 4-8 shows the different ways in which kids are encouraged to raise their hands from the time they are very little. (For toddlers in my family, it was the prompted response to the question, “How big are you?”)

A young girl is urged by her parents to put up her hands to greet the sun, play peek-a-boo, take a stretch, get a hug, dance, pray, play ball, and make “high fives”
Shaye Miller
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
I loved how this picture book depicted the numerous ways we raise our hands, whether it’s to stretch, to be called on in class, to select a book off a high shelf, in ballet class, in worship services, and in so many other ways. In the back, McDaniel talks about her niece who she worries cannot always show her full range of emotions and strength because she’s a black girl and will often be seen as a victim or villain. Forgive me while I direct quote a chunk of text, from the Author’s Note:

For man
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Celebration, joy, and triumph! Because of who I am I didn't realize that this was reclaiming the phrase "hands up" until I read the author's note at the end. This is such a big world, and so many things I wish and pray for my daughter (and son)...and yet, there are so many things I will never, ever comprehend or ever have to comprehend as a mother, and I humbly acknowledge that. The beauty and grace of this book should be joyful acknowledgement and taking ownership of what has been a hurtful and ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I want to be as joyous and optimistic as the author. She is amazing and this book does give me hope. But I am not there yet. Hands Up still brings to mind a very different picture for me. I think I spend too much time on social media reading and watching pain and hurt and abuse of power.

But hands CAN be used to uplift. They can be raised in joy and praise and aid. They can be held together in protest for improvement. I want that to be the image in my mind. Thank you for trying to change the nar
Matt Craft
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The characters are black, and the book adds poignancy by reclaiming “Hands Up” for common, happy moments at a time when those two words have become charged with difficult connotations. That re-appropriation is subtle enough, though, that the book can be enjoyed even without the subtext and would make a lovely read aloud or lap book for toddlers through pre-K.
Celebrating a different look at this title phrase is a young girl in all her activities. She holds hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five--before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march. It is a young black girl who lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a glass of juice, and her hands up for help after a bike accident. In ballet and in basketball--"Hands up!" and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. Shane W. Ev ...more
Great Books
Jun 18, 2019 added it
Shelves: ages-3-5
Bright, colorful illustrations and shorter text depict a happy African-American preschool girl who keeps her hands up to complete everyday activities, receives encouragement from her family during mishaps and strives forward with her best efforts while enjoying childhood.

Reviewer 3

Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All three of my kids loved this book, which uses the phrase "hands up" for a young Black girl from getting dressed in the morning as a toddler to standing up for human rights as a young adult. It's another piece helping my family understand where our country is today.
Simple text, bold illustrations, big message
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mock-caldecott
Took me a while to realize it is the same character throughout. Really liked the idea, but it was the afterword that made me make the connection to the rally cry. Powerful and joyous.
Kris Dersch
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is so great! It was always an uplifting and cute story for both parents and kids but the last page and the back matter are everything!
What an lovely way to celebrate and value the agency of a child. This book suggests a life of hope, opportunities for success, of friendships and loving families and how we can all come together in celebrating a world with common and kindly aspirations.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love this illustrator!
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc-reads
Joyful and lively. Just the story all children need to feel the lightness of possibility.

Parents should be reading this too, as they will grasp the subtext of the titular phrase, "Hands Up!" especially in the wake of the June protests against police brutality.
Lindsay Leslie
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a celebration! HANDS UP! for all the good things, for reaching new heights, for trying but needing help, for protest, for sustenance, for love and respect. And don't miss the author's note at the end. Read it and then reread it.
Aliza Werner
Connotations of the phrase “hands up” range from joy and celebration to fear and anger. I loved how the phrase showed how to uplift, especially celebrating a young Black girl. Don’t miss the end note by the author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • You Matter
  • What Is Given from the Heart
  • Saturday
  • The Bell Rang
  • Going Down Home with Daddy
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle
  • The King of Kindergarten
  • ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
  • At the Mountain's Base
  • A Big Bed for Little Snow
  • I Am Every Good Thing
  • Tomorrow Most Likely
  • Lubna and Pebble
  • Just Like Me
  • Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color
  • Hey, Water!
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
See similar books…
Top Eight Things to Know About Me:

1) I’m from Atlanta, GA. To be more specific I grew up in College Park and East Point, GA surrounded by my siblings and cousins. While I will always love how vibrant my home community is, it’s changing quite a bit. I just hope some things never change, especially the menu at Big Daddy’s on Old National! Yum!

2) I write children’s books, my favorite genre is picture

Articles featuring this book

Dhonielle Clayton is a YA author, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books, a...
88 likes · 10 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »