Zetta Elliot, in A Place inside of me, gives us a poem to heal the heart of young people of colour. In this sensitive picture book we see a young skateboarders’ response to living, before and after, a community member is wounded by the police. This review is on behalf of Raincoast Books.
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What I am Reviewing
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, A Place inside of me is written by Zetta Elliot. Within it’s 32 pages of reinforced binding, this hardcover picture book contains a poem to heal the heart. Noa Denmom illustrates with care and feeling, bringing to light those hidden emotions inside.
From the cover:
Summertime is filled with joy – skateboarding and playing basketball – until his community is deeply wounded by a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace. …….
Here is a groundbreaking narrative that can help all readers – children and adults alike – talk about the feelings hiding deep inside each of us.
The details for A Place Inside of Me
This is not a book of simple rhyming poetry, but a poem filled with emotion from deep inside of a young man. Enjoying his summer, until damage happens. Then pain and anger flow out.
Illustrator Noa Denmon does an excellent job articulating the depth and nuances of a child’s experiences following a police shooting. You’ll see with washes of colour, the grief, and anger, and healing and eventually the community.
You’ll find the text generally in a large enough format to read with a group of children gathered round, and yet easy enough on the eyes to sit and read with a single child. A Place Inside of Me is geared to youth 4-8 years old, but would be good with older children as well.
Should you Get it?
Well-written, covering sensitive pain. Opening hearts and minds to the inner turmoil of others when a member of their community is hurt. Even though this specifically applies to Black Lives Matter, I can easily seen the theme crossing boundaries. An excellent bridge to help children be sensitive to the feelings of those around them.
A Place Inside of Me is definitely worth reading and I suggest you give it a good look. Add it to your history. 🙂