cover image We Are Here

We Are Here

Tami Charles, illus. by Bryan Collier. Orchard, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-75204-5

In this follow-up to All Because You Matter, collaborators Charles and Collier meld pithy, free-verse lines and saturated illustrations to form an empowering treatise that celebrates the Black diaspora across time and space. Attending images of a Black child whose pigtail puffs are shown as holding elements of the universe, early lines focus on individual promise (“We are the seeds,/ you and me”) contextualized against history (“From brick and grit,/ we built this place”). Subsequent pages visualize Black figures—including Martin Luther King Jr., Marian Anderson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters—taking part in activism, fashion, food production, and music: “We are intercontinental,/ can’t you see?.../ Trend-setters,/ Go-getters,.../ multidialectal,/ oh-so-intellectual.” Stunning watercolor and collage art—inspired, per a creator’s note, by a John Biggers painting of shotgun houses—juxtaposes the structures and other patterned elements to create a shining, surreal dimensionality that supports the book’s affirming conceit: “We are fearless, more than we know... Because you and me have always been heroes.” Back matter includes creators’ notes, and contextualizes figures and contributions discussed. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)