Reviewed by Deborah Menkart
Man Up! by Riley Campbell, London Jones, and Shirelle Hurt, illustrated by Joy Ingram. Dedicated to “all the boys who are told they can’t be themselves” — this is the book we have been waiting for. Not since William’s Doll have I seen a book that helps young readers consider that it is natural for boys to have and express emotions, sensitivity, and empathy. The protagonist, Aaron, gets teased by his friends and told to “man up” by his dad whenever he expresses sadness or sympathy. Thankfully his brother (Sage) returns from college and clarifies that it is unhealthy to bottle up one’s feelings. The authors of this book are three high school students in D.C. It is published by Shout Mouse Press, the source of many excellent children’s books by D.C. students.
Man Up! by Riley Campbell, London Jones, Shirelle Hurt
on November 15, 2019
Genres: African American, Bullying
Reading Level: Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
Review Source: Cotton Quilts
Publisher's Synopsis: Aaron is outgoing and funny and a whiz at kickball. He's also compassionate and kind, reading books at the old folks home down H street. Basically, he's pretty great. But he's got a problem: everyone calls him a Crybaby.
When his friends cheat at Forknife, he cries out of anger. When he sees his friend Tayshawn hurt a neighborhood dog, he cries out of empathy. And when misses his oldest brother, Sage, who's away at college, he cries out of loneliness. His dad, his friends, and his classmates tell him to "Leave that crying for the girls." How can Aaron learn to value his feelings and nurture his sensitivity in a world telling him to "Man up"?
The authors of this story are part of an innovative program run by Reach Incorporated. Reach develops grade-level readers and capable leaders by preparing teens to serve as tutors and role models for younger students, resulting in improved literacy outcomes for both. Learn more at reachincorporated.org. Books were created in collaboration with Shout Mouse Press. Shout Mouse is a nonprofit writing and publishing house dedicated to amplifying underheard voices. Through writing workshops that lead to professional publication, Shout Mouse empowers writers from marginalized backgrounds to tell their own stories in their own voices and, as published authors, to act as agents of change. Learn more at shoutmousepress.org