Sarah Rising written by Ty Chapman and illustrated by DeAnn Wiley.
Out now from Beaming Books; 40 pages.
Content Warning: police violence
About the author: “Ty Chapman is the author of SARAH RISING (Beaming 2022); LOOKING FOR HAPPY (Beaming 2023); A DOOR MADE FOR ME, written with Tyler Merritt (WorthyKids 2022); as well as multiple forthcoming children’s books through various publishers, and a forthcoming poetry collection through Button Poetry. Ty was a finalist for Tin House’s 2022 Fall Residency, Button Poetry’s 2020 Chapbook Contest, and Frontier Magazine’s New Voices Contest. He is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts and was recently named a Loft Literary Center Mirrors & Windows fellow and Mentor Series fellow.” (Bio taken from author’s website)
Find Ty Chapman on the following platforms:
About the illustrator: “Born & Raised in Detroit. I have been painting, self-taught, for 4 years. I am a advocate for social justice as I sit at the intersection of many identities: Black, Woman, Queer & (Dis)Abled, and stand in solidarity with those communities that I am not a member of. Currently in grad school for Counseling Psychology, with a strong belief that we need more BW in the field. So when I’m not painting, I’m learning, growing, healing and each phase of my journey can be seen through my art.” (Bio taken from illustrator’s website).
Find DeAnn Wiley on the following platforms:
Sarah Rising follows a young girl named Sarah. One morning, she wakes up, and it seems like it’s going to be a completely normal day. She ate toast for breakfast and fed her pet insects. Then, she began to get ready for school. But her dad came into her room and told her that instead of taking her to school, he was going to take her to a protest against police brutality toward Black people. The rest of the picture book focuses on Sarah’s experience at the protest, where she witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the officers who are supposed to protect her.
Ty Chapman’s storytelling is compelling. He does a superb job at fleshing out Sarah as a character and young activist by giving her distinct interests such as taking care of beetles, ants, and butterflies. The entire story also shows Sarah’s first experience with activism during the protests. Thanks to Chapman’s strong writing, Sarah’s fear and confusion are palpable during the protest scenes. So is her ultimate feeling of hope.
DeAnn Wiley’s illustrations expand the captivating story by capturing the essence of a protest. From the detailed posters to the diversity of the people in the crowd, nothing was missed. At one point in the story, murals of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor can be seen on a brick wall behind Sarah and her dad. These illustrations are a stark reminder of the real-life victims of police brutality. They’re also a reminder that picture books like Sarah Rising are vital reads. The plotline reflects current events and shows how young people like Sarah can make a difference with their actions.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank Beaming Books for providing us with a copy in exchange for an honest review.)
PRR Writer, Emma Watts