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Hands Up!

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  400 ratings  ·  96 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
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  400 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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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
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book. THIS BOOK! What a gorgeous story.
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!
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.
Cheryl Gladfelter
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, 2019
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.
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.
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.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
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
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
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
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.
Great Books
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

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.
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!
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.
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.
Jillian Heise
Don't miss the author & illustrator notes at the end that explain the deeper meaning behind this book.
Esther Glenn
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the celebration of lifting up your arms and hands in joy! I could hear a couple of beloved gospel tunes as I finished reading. This book is definitely one I'd like to own for my own personal library.

So today at Read Aloud with my students, I decided to read "Hands Up." This book features the same illustrator as "My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood" that I read to them 3 months ago. After I read "Hands Up," I asked the students for their thoughts on the book. One of my students said, "That'
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”
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
A police phrase is turned into something much more positive in this picture book. Starting with being a small baby and lifting her hands to play peek-a-boo, an African-American girl grows up on these pages. Along the way, she raises her hands for all sorts of positive reasons like getting dressed, reaching high, and doing her hair. She takes action with her hands up: getting books from a shelf, dancing, playing basketball, and worshiping. The book ends with the girl joining her family in a prote ...more
Sandy Brehl
This is a charming interpretation of the expression so often associated with potentially tragic circumstances, including the chants of "HANDS UP!" in protest marches in recent years.
In this case the core concept and expression of hands up varies form a toddler's earliest outreach to dance studios to getting dressed to high fives. Vibrant illustrations with diverse characters provide an array of familiar and upbeat scenes, emphasizing the central concepts of /hands/ and /up/ for toddlers, alive
Breanna J. McDaniel follows a black girl as she grows from baby to teenager, describing the many ways she and others raise their hands. Hands are raised by her parents playing peek-a-boo with her, and by her, as they help her get dressed in the morning. She raises her hands high when eager to answer a question in class and in taking a graceful ballet position. Hands are raised in praise by everyone while worshiping in church. Surrounded by friends picking grapes and apples, she declares, “We beg ...more
Amy Layton
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
McDaniel reframes the stigmatized phrase "Hands up!" by positioning it in everyday circumstances as the main character grows up.  The main character's hands go up when she wants to ask a question, when she's excited, when she's playing--all culminating to an end of putting her hands up together with a group of protesters.  It's a powerful book and a powerful image that works to understand and critique the goings-on of today's political scene.  And alongside Evans' bright illustrations, this book ...more
A positive approach to a phrase that has become fraught with meaning is the central focus of this book for young children. Some of the situations offered seemed a stretch, and I do wish the ending had communicated support for social justice and human rights causes in a more open-ended and less specific way. I think that would help it to be more widely used and introduced to kids (and, let's face it, some adults) who may not have any familiarity with any of these phrases or ideas. Getting these i ...more
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