Your Life Matters (Chris Singleton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Your Life Matters, written by Chris Singleton and illustrated by Taylor Barron, an empowering and inspiring book for young black readers.

The world can be an intimidating and downright frightening place to grow up black. From the headlines on tv and the internet, to the suspicious looks and treatment given by others, to the disadvantages that a person must face simply by virtue of their skin color, it’s easy for black children to wonder: “does my life matter?” The answer is unequivocally, resoundingly, undeniably: YES. Your mind, your heart, your voice, your eyes, your strength; the world would be a lesser place without them. So follow in the footsteps of inspiring black Americans who came before and know: within you is the potential for greatness. And when things feel overwhelming, let them remind you – your life matters.

Beautiful. There is a real need for picture books that address the black experience in the US, a concept that can be enormously intimidating and confusing for little ones. This one does so with gentle honesty and tender encouragement, reminding readers that their lives have limitless value and potential. The “hero-mentors” featured in the illustrations – notable black Americans like Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson, and Barack Obama – are introduced in the backmatter but left unnamed in the body of the text; this choice works unexpectedly well, placing the focus on the children the story addresses and their importance to the world rather than the luminaries’ accomplishments. The artwork is lovely, utilizing rich colors and soft textures, and featuring a diversity of black skintones and hairstyles among the children (less diverse were body type and ability; all the children are slim and able-bodied). The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both really enjoyed this one. A gorgeous reminder for all young readers that black lives matter, and an always-needed affirmation for black children that they are beautiful, brilliant, and valued. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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