Thursday, June 18, 2020

Poetry Friday -- WOKE

"To be WOKE is to understand that equality and justice for some is not equality and justice at all. We must stay alert. We must ask hard questions. We must stand for what is right--even when it is difficult and scary." --Mahogany L. Browne in the Introduction to WOKE: A Young Poet's Call to Justice

This collection of 24 poems by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood (plus an introduction poem by Jason Reynolds) is a primer for young people and their elders as we move into a new era of social justice. These are poems for self-acceptance and the acceptance of others, poems for both action and introspection.

More than anything, these are poems that encourage the reader to use their voice to make change in the world.

Pair these poems with National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Jason Reynold's "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story" platform through the Library of Congress.

Teachers, get ready to listen more and to encourage your students to talk back, to own and use their voices. Be ready to say to them
...stand up straight
lock your shoulders
open your chest
and say your human things so I can hear
you 'cross the room
'cross the world
over all this noise. 
(From Jason Reynold's introduction poem. Read the whole poem here.)

Tricia has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


  1. YES! We must encourage,"Self acceptance, acceptance of others,..." Thank you for sharing Mary Lee! Also, I would love to host Sep.11th if still available!

  2. I'll take that September date! And I've added you to the round up. Happy Friday.

  3. Thanks for the heads up about WOKE. Good to know there are great resources available for young people at this crucial time in history.

  4. Thanks for the introduction to this book, Mary Lee. I look forward to reading "poems that encourage the reader to use their voice to make change in the world" - indeed! :)

  5. I need this yesterday. In fact, I need a book club set for my library.

  6. It is marvelous, I agree. I just started reading this to the grandgirls, a little at a time so we can talk about each one & what it can mean for them, for me. Thanks for sharing, Mary Lee.

  7. Jason Reynolds has a powerful voice and I am sure that youngsters would love to read his work. Thanks for this new book of poetry, Mary Lee.

  8. Thanks for this! I can't find the whole text of the Jason Reynolds poem at that link, though.

  9. Thank you, Mary Lee for the recommendation. It looks like an important book.

  10. Thanks for passing on these two dynamic resources Mary Lee! I especially liked listening to a few of Jason Reynolds, "Write, Right, Rite," and I look forward to reading "Woke."

  11. "Palms reaching up for a clearly attainable sky." What hope and promise lie within those words! Thank you for introducing me to this book.


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