Cover image for Hands up! / by Breanna J. McDaniel ; illustrated by Shane W. Evans.
Hands up! / by Breanna J. McDaniel ; illustrated by Shane W. Evans.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2019.

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
"A young girl lifts her hands up in a series of everyday moments before finally raising her hands in resistance at a protest march"-- Provided by publisher
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
MCD Book Easy Collection

On Order



A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

Author Notes

Breanna J. McDaniel is an author and children's literature scholar. She holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, where her research focuses on representations of black children in contemporary picture books. She is originally from Atlanta and currently lives in the United Kingdom. This is her first book.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

In this affirmation of self-love for children of color, an exuberant brown-skinned girl recounts many situations in which she puts her hands up: playing peek-a-boo as a very young child, then, as she gets older, striking a fifth-position pose in ballet, offering praise in church, holding a basketball trophy aloft while being carried by teammates raised hands, carrying a sign at a protest march, and more. (The protagonists equally exuberant blue cat offers a parallel story for readers to follow.) Evanss illustrations effectively evoke a bright mood throughout, while encouraging readers to slow down and enjoy the textures. Some of them resemble photographed burlap and knitted fabrics; others have striated paintbrush strokes and light-colored swirly patterns. In appended authors and illustrators notes, this team beautifully articulates a conscious commitment to creating positive mirror books for children of color, including McDaniels very deliberate choice to reclaim the titular phrase from its negative associations with police encounters (For many people, the phrase hands up brings forward difficult emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, and fear). A book that highlights the joys of black and brown childhood while it positions very young children as leaders and agents of change. michelle h. martin January/February 2019 p 79(c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.