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Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  876 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Woke: A Young Poet's Guide to Justice is a collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.

Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to spe
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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Kate Olson
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I can’t wait to read this stunning poetry collection to my 5th graders this winter. Accessible and with wide-ranging topics, I can’t recommend book this highly enough for all middle grade classrooms and libraries.
This is an illustrated collection of poems penned by various authors. I appreciated the diversity of subjects including empathy, activism, body positivity and stereotyping.

People of any race or cultural background could relate to some of the poems. One such piece titled What is an Intersection included the lines, "Intersectionality means we are all happening, we are all supporting each other. We are an ecosystem living and growing, depending on each other for survival, evolving and becoming who
Mariah Roze
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.

With Theodore Taylor's bright, emotional art, and writing from Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice."
Caitlin (CMAReads)
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful poetry. Thought provoking topics. Great for middle grade readers and beyond.
Ms. Stephens
I liked this book much better in concept than in reality, though my classes and I all really enjoyed the poem "Rock the Boat."

I prefer my poems shorter and less prose-y... maybe a little less heavy-handed on the lessons (even if they're awesome lessons that everyone should hear and absorb).
Lindsey Rojem
I picked this book up on a whim and it was lovely and powerful. It is a collection of poetry by 3 authors aimed towards both children and adults and it focuses on important and moving topics like race and equality and kindness. Very touching and I think it would be easy for anyone of any age to follow and understand.

Would fit The 52 Book Club's 2021 prompts:
1 - Set in a School
24 - A Book You Think They Should Read In Schools
26 - An Author Of Colour
36 - A Nameless Narrator
37 - An Educational Read
Kim Bahr
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking; loved “What’s in My Toolbox?” to understand the idea of privilege.
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-justice
There are some excellent, thought-provoking poems in this collection. I didn’t love all of them, but I appreciated how many created a picture that made me stop and reflect, both on my experience/privilege and the experiences of POC.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Woke" is a wonderful collection of poetry about the world around us - body positivity, racial injustice, standing up for what's's a great way to introduce kids and young teens to the concept of being woke. I loved that the pages had a subject at the bottom so that parents could focus specifically on race or prejudice if they felt there was a particular subject they wanted to focus on with their kids. ...more
Kelly Hager
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are like me and you find poetry a little intimidating or inaccessible, this is a great one to pick. I don't mean that it's easy or simplistic, because that's not it at all, but it's just things that need to be said and said in a straightforward way.

I've been trying to read more poetry and this is now one of my favorite collections. I wouldn't at all present myself as an expert here, but I love how it can convey emotion in a way that prose sometimes doesn't.

I love every poem in here, but
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Twenty-four poems that address woke topics such as discrimination, ableism, body positivity, prejudice, privilege and more. This is a book that older elementary, middle and high school students could learn and be inspired by.
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An accessible, thought-provoking book of poetry. My personal favorites were the pieces by Elizabeth Acevedo, but overall, the entire collection is full of poems on topics that will make readers think. The artwork is a great accompaniment, and I think it would be a great book to include in poetry discussion for kids.
Hanna Greene
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a strong selection of poetry that will be a big part of any classroom. These poems range from different sub points like race, gender, mental health, physical disability, etc. Every child will be able to relate in some way or another.
Christina Carter
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood deliver one thought-provoking, call to action poem after another. Pause with each poem. Take each one in and contemplate what stirs up inside you and how you might use your voice to advocate for justice. Rock the boat. Shake things up. Raise your fist. Raise your voice. Pick up your pen. Just don't slumber as one who walks this earth with their eyes wide shut.

Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice is recommended for ages 8-12. It is beautif
Ashley Adams
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Empowering poems for today's youth about building an inclusive and accepting community. ...more
Laura Beam
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book of poems was such a great primer for middle schoolers (and people of all ages) to begin thinking about big issues like intersectionality, identity, privilege, and race.
Janine Bürger de Assis
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, library
Such a small book, such a powerful message. A book for adults and young readers, everyone can read it and start thinking more about the topics in discussion here. I loved the book format and the illustrations.
kiki thelibrarian

While I found some unevenness in the quality of the various poems, or I how much I liked them, there’s no denying that this book is vitally important to all human beings! The way complex ideas and terms, like privilege, are explained in accessible ways is incredible! A must read for everyone!
It's so much more than a picture book or a poetry book because it combines the beautiful elements of both with the richness of the voices of the contributing authors and illustrators to create a book accessible for everyone. Obviously the subtitle tells you who it is really for but everyone to benefit from the wizened words of the writers (along with the foreword by Jason Reynolds).

Several of the poems touched by including Gatwood's "What's in my Toolbox?", Acevedo's "Rock the Boat", and "A Me-
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Woke is the perfect beginning for those young ones who need to learn about antiracism as well as people who have been working towards it for years.
#poetry is one of my favorite types of writing to read because it can mean so many different things to different people. This picture book however has a very clear message: in order to be woke, one needs to be aware of their surroundings and be a part of the movement. This book about social justice will open eyes and start many journeys & conversati
Powerful and timely poetry. All too resonant given the light shined (yet again) over the past several weeks on racial injustices in our country.
Jason Reynolds’ brief foreword sets the tone perfectly. I especially appreciated Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Say the Names,” Mahogany L. Browne’s and Olivia Gatwood’s “What Is an Intersection,” Browne’s “Right To,” and Acevedo’s “Rock the Boat.”
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices, poetry
Strikingly and sparingly illustrated, powerful poetry to inspire understanding of concepts needed for intersectional justice. I was especially excited to read the Forward, Introduction and the Immigration, Body Positivity, Gender, Privilege, and Stereotyping poems, but there is much to think about on each page.
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful poems for all ages! Wonderful for the classroom and families!
Jaclyn Hillis
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is beautiful!
Not just a poetry collection but a call to action
Leslie Reese
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry, ya
I really love this book - the poems and the illustrations are fit to engage multi-generational audiences on a range of humanitarian and social justice topics for understanding. The copy I read was borrowed from the library but I had to special order a copy from a favorite independent bookstore for my own library - to enjoy and use in my poetry residencies with young people. 24 poems. 54 pages. On the back cover is the following list of all the things the poems and illustrations in these pages to ...more
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely beautiful collection of thought-provoking poems by an amazing collection of talented poets that tackles topics from discrimination to immigration to intersectionality to privilege ("What's in my Toolbox" and "A Me-Shaped Box" are both must reads). Every poem is a piece of art, with lines that will stay with you long after you read them. In one of the poems "Amari explains a Frown to Her Little Brother", a lined that stayed with me was, "...And think I'll wait another day to ...more
You need to read this book!

This is a wonderful collection of poems touching on all the aspects of social justice and equality that you can think of. The illustrations perfectly pick up the themes: they're lively, colorful, and bold. My favorites were "what's in my toolbox" and "in between, there is light." I bet you'll find a favorite, too.

For me, in a time when we're taking interest as a nation in hearing and listening to the voices of the marginalized (and hopefully working to be better at in
Jessica Lopez
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love the illustrations in this book, especially the front cover - gorgeous! The book begins with a great introduction on what it means to be Woke and contains a beautiful collection of poetry for young people on topics such as activism, justice, self-acceptance, immigration, inclusion, and intersectionality.
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25 likes · 31 comments
“but remember, even on the days
you aren't feeling yourself:

Your body is always a good body
because it carries the good in you.”
“but just know
you contain waves,
you are an ocean,
your heart is as large as lakes
and when it quakes
you have to rise,
and rise,
and let the tide inside you
shake every single ship
that would attempt to sweep
someone beneath:

Rock the boat, rock the boat,
with love and hope, rock the boat.”
More quotes…