Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter


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

Black Lives Matter are three words that seem to stir up a lot of emotions and controversy. After the murder of George Floyd, #blacklivesmatter went viral and so did the conspiracy theories. My conservative husband told me that I didn't know the truth behind Black Lives Matter and that the organization had some bad plans and people. Others responded with "blue (police) lives matter" or "all lives matter." A few weeks ago I shared the meme below on the Crafty Moms Share Facebook page. I was shocked when I got a comment from a white woman sharing a gif of black people saying "This is bullsh*t." 

Source: Bruce Antone via Facebook

I honestly didn't know how to respond or what to do. I consulted with my friend, Leanna, owner of All Done Monkey and founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs. After some discussion and checking out the woman who posted it we both decided it was better to not engage and just delete her comment. But it showed me the prejudice that is still out there. And the irony that she picked a gif featuring black people to tell me it was BS. By the way if you search bullsh-t in the Facebook gif you have to scroll down to find the one she shared. So this proves to me that today's book is extremely timely and important! Veronica Chambers of the New York Times took the time to research and record the story of Black Lives Matter in the new book, Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter. It is recommended for ages 10+ and grades 5 through 12. 

From the Publisher:

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter is a broad and powerful exploration of the history of Black Lives Matter told through photographs, quotes, and informative text by New York Times best-selling authors Veronica Chambers and Jennifer Harlan.

In 2020, the world watched history being made in the streets of America. The rallying cry of Black Lives Matter captured global attention and spurred thousands of people of all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds to stand up for major progressive social reform. The widespread protests, rooted in the call-and-response tradition of the Black community, were fueled by a growing understanding for many that systemic racism undermines the very nature of democracy. But where did this movement begin? And why, after years of work by everyday people, did the world finally begin to take notice?

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter covers the rise of Black Lives Matter and how it has been shaped by U.S. history. From the founders of the movement—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—to the watershed moments that challenged people to take action, this book tells the story of how a hashtag became a movement. It follows the activists and organizers on their journeys, examines some of the ways that protest has been fundamental to American history, and shows how marches, rallies, and demonstrations can be vital tools for making meaningful change.

In this essential history, New York Times editors Veronica Chambers and Jennifer Harlan explore Black Lives Matter through striking photographs, in-depth reporting, stunning visual timelines and graphics, and compelling quotes. Call and Response is perfect for young readers who need an introduction to this impactful movement—and for any reader looking for concrete information on this timely topic.

From Me:

As I shared in the introduction, this book is so timely. There has been so much misinformation circulating around that no one truly knows what to believe any more. A trusted editor from The New York Times is has done the research for us and shares the whole story. This book gives the story of how Black Lives Matter started with three Black women and has grown into a worldwide movement. Throughout the book are photographs sharing the movement as well as the earlier Civil Rights Movement. I love how the book shares the history from slavery until now and touches on systemic racism (and what it is) to the protests as well as murders of Black people by police and others. 

Plus, the book shares the history of the co-founders and some of the leaders in Black Lives Matter. The reader gets to see how Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi each became activists and how they began to work together. Also, the reader learns about the first #blacklivesmatter and how that evolved into the movement.  These three women did not plan on starting Black Lives Matter or a movement, but it happened. They passed it on to local groups and more. 

There are ten chapters in the book as well as some small photo sections including a timeline, photos of the protests, and so much more! Reading this book clarifies the history and the meaning of the movement as well as the why it matters. It even tells us how systemic racism is hurting everyone and not just people of color. We all need to fight. This book will become a staple in history classrooms across the country. It is something everyone should read no matter the side you are on. We all need to learn the truth, so we know what we are fighting for or against. I hope you will check it out!