cover image Hands Up!

Hands Up!

Breanna J. McDaniel, illus. by Shane W. Evans. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-55231-4

McDaniel’s debut picture book offers a jubilant paean to a universal, everyday occurrence that has many interpretations: raising one’s hands. A brown-skinned girl’s day begins with a stretch to “greet the sun, bold and bright,” and additional hands-up motions follow as she lifts her hands to let her parents pull on her shirt, enthusiastically gestures to her teacher (“Please pick me, Ms. B!”), reaches for a book on a high shelf, lifts hands “in praise and worship,” and jumps to score during a basketball game—and then triumphantly raises a trophy above her head. Spare, deeply expressive mixed-media pictures by Evans (Chocolate Me!) feature vivid colors and inventive textures, and they underscore the positive power of helping hands, even in less than ideal situations (adults comfort the girl when she overturns a glass of juice and takes a bicycle spill). Final spreads illuminate the book’s crux, as hands of various skin tones are raised in unison—“High fives all around”—and people fervently hold up placards endorsing love and tolerance. An uplifting celebration of advocating for oneself, aiding those in need, and connecting with one’s community. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]