Rise Up and Write It: With Real Mail, Posters, and More!

HarperFestival. Jan. 2021. 48p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063029590.
Gr 1-3–A community and its activist members effect change for good. Farah Patel wonders why there is an absence of butterflies in her neighborhood. The answer is simple—there is nothing green, a lack of flowers, and therefore no nectar for butterflies nearby. Her search for a solution prompts a letter to Mayor Rabia Khan about the use of a vacant lot for a community garden. In what amounts to a primer on how to wage a writing campaign, Farah gathers friends to share ideas and help start petitions. Digitally created images in a bright palette feature simply drawn cartoon faces with detailed settings, and include facsimile envelopes so readers can see exactly how to create snail mail of their own. Every time Farah writes, the envelope address of the recipient indicates a step in the young girl’s activist participation; readers also learn how to use petitions and signs effectively. Farah organizes a community meeting at the public library with neighborhood friends to discuss ideas and make signs for a public forum with the city council, where she bravely states their case: “Gardens not Gravel!” She also creates a club for those who want to “make things better.” The book highlights Farah's neighborhood with characters varying in race, ethnicity, gender, and age.
VERDICT A general purchase recommendation for both library and classroom, this title showcases a strong young female character who actively pursues positive change by developing her own strengths.

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