A Place Inside of Me -- #blacklivesmatter


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is Labor Day, a day for rest. I have been taking this weekend off somewhat so I can get Hazel ready for the new school year. It begins tomorrow and she is going back in person. After being home for six months it is a hard transition. But I wanted to continue our Black Lives Matter Series. Today's post will be different. I have had this book to review that is a poem meant to heal the heart from all the riots, hatred and wrongs going on in the world these days. As a white person I find it powerful to read and get a glimpse into what my Black friends are experiencing. I have been trying to figure out how I wanted to share this book with you. It is powerful yet simple. I knew I didn't want to group it in without picture books, because its message is too important. So here it is, A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon. 

This book is about emotions. The emotions we hold deep down. They can weigh on us and cause us sleepless nights and emotional outbursts if we do not allow them to be felt. The book is to help Black hearts to heal and be able to move on with their lives. However this poem could be applied to many people's lives. As a Christian it reminds me of the time Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt. The illustrations however make it about our time and the current events in our country. 

I love that this book features the narrator (in the illustrations) as a young Black man. I would guess he is a teenager. Let's face it, Black boys in our country have so much to fear. Our society makes life hard for them. I saw it as a teacher and I see it still. You can see their struggles and fears in how they carry themselves. And let's face it many of the brutal deaths we have seen in the news are Black men. This is their life and their fear. I know one of my Black male friends is afraid to leave his house. He has fear of the police, of the violence in our society as well as of Covid. 

I also love the range of emotions the poem goes through. There are positive and negative ones. They cover joy, sorrow, fear, anger, hunger for freedom, pride, peace, compassion, hope, and love. I also love that it ends with loving oneself. 

I love how the illustrations tie in the current events and show a typical Black boy's surroundings. There is the barber shop to the basketball game in a park or playground. There are illustrations of the protests and the police responding. There are also some famous faces in the illustrations as he feels pride. I definitely see Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Mae Jemison, Jackie Robinson, and more. 

This book is so powerful to me. I hope it can truly help heal hearts and open minds. Our society is so divided and broken right now. We need to come together and help one another instead of tearing each other down. This book gives me hope and fills me with love. I think it could truly help anyone try to make sense of the current events. I hope it will be shared in houses and classrooms across America.

Finally I love the ending message of love for others, the Earth and oneself. This book is suggested for ages 4 to 8. I think people of all ages will enjoy this one and its powerful message needs to be heard. I also think it would be an amazing discussion starter in even a middle or high school class and a check-in on how people are feeling with current events. I hope you will check it out.