Watch Us Rise

by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

Best friends Jasmine, who is Black, and Chelsea, who is Jewish and white, attend... read more

Best friends Jasmine, who is Black, and Chelsea, who is Jewish and white, attend a New York City high school with a stated commitment to social justice. It makes the sexism they experience, from physical harassment to lack of support for a Women’s Rights Club, all the more infuriating. They start a blog and, with mentoring from a woman in the community, begin to engage in other forms of activism. Jasmine, who is fat, asserts body positivity but still struggles with how others, including Chelsea, do—and do not—see her. She’s also dealing with her dad’s terminal illness. Chelsea is struggling with how her feminist values sometimes feel compromised in her relationship with her boyfriend, and with how to support her best friend through grief. The two young women want to stand up for themselves, each other, and other girls and women. Their willingness to listen, to learn, and to speak up and out is the heart of an intentional story in which their voices rise powerfully from the page. A novel that serves as an introduction to intersectional feminism lacks some secondary character development but still packs a punch. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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