Watch Us Rise

Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan
"This stunning book is the story I've been waiting for my whole life; where girls rise up to claim their space with joy and power." --Laurie Halse Anderson,New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Speak "An extraordinary story of two indomitable spirits." --Brendan Kiely,New York Times bestselling co-author ofAll American Boys andTradition "Timely, thought-provoking, and powerful." --Julie Murphy,New York Times bestselling author ofDumplin' Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson teams up with poet Ellen Hagan in this YA feminist anthem about raising your voice. Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post their work online--poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences--and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices--and those of other young women--to be heard. These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activists. Acclaim forPiecing Me Together 2018 Newbery Honor Book 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award 2017Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Finalist "Timely and timeless." --Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author ofBrown Girl Dreaming "Watson, with rhythm and style, somehow gets at . . . the life-changing power of voice and opportunity." --Jason Reynolds, NYT-bestselling author ofLong Way Down "Brilliant." --John Green,New York Timesbestselling author ofThe Fault in Our Stars * "Teeming with compassion and insight." --Publishers Weekly, starred review * "A timely, nuanced, and unforgettable story about the power of art, community, and friendship." --Kirkus, starred review * "A nuanced meditation on race, privilege, and intersectionality." --SLJ, starred review

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-12-01

Bold, brave, brassy, and beautiful. These are all words that describe feminist high school juniors, Jasmine and Chelsea, who set out to change the culture of their school. With their friends Isaac and Nadine, they're about to break rules and change the sexist, racist, elitist, and paternalistic stereotypes of girls and womyn (their favored spelling of women as it leaves out “men”). New York City's Amsterdam Heights High School prides itself on being constructive, creative, and progressive. All students MUST be in a club; this is where the rub begins for Chelsea and Jasmine. Chelsea's in the poetry club and is tired of only studying "dead white male poets;" Jasmine's in the theater club and is tired of getting only stereotypical parts for a large, black girl. During their first club meetings, each girl quits and asks another teacher to sponsor a feminist club. The teacher agrees, but tells the girls that they're basically on their own because she supervises all the club sponsors. What sort of social changes will these unsupervised girls cause in their high school? Read Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan to find out! In each chapter, Chelsea and Jasmine alternately tell the story, which is interspersed with blog posts, poems, Isaac's drawings, and descriptions of activist actions. Additionally, the book’s chapter headings designate sequential months, such as August through May. Personalities and opinions are expressed openly throughout the novel as the two strong protagonists garner a following even as they experience loss, hurt, fun, and change. Authors Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan portray how a small seed grows into a large movement. This is an inspiring read for strong (or want-to-be strong) high school girls. Submitted by: J.B. Petty

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