A simple recitation of the ways that people can be supportive of one another.
“This book was written in the spirit of reconciliation and is dedicated to the children, families and staff of Aboriginal Head Start programs.” That is the dedication; at the end, there is a longer note about notorious Indian Residential schools, where, for over 150 years, indigenous children in Canada were humiliated and abused. In between, all the words and art offer a warm and positive message. Simple and pointed phrases are printed boldly on white or pastel backgrounds on half of each double-page spread, with stylized, bright, watercolor illustrations on each opposing page. Each brown- or tan-skinned face has cheeks with outlined, bright pink circles; other features are sweetly expressive lines of ink, sometimes including little hearts for mouths. Birds, flowers, and gaily patterned wallpapers add to a feeling of contentment and communal power. The image of an adult and two children, eyes closed, singing outside by moonlight and beating on drums, is especially strong, as is an illustration of two hugging children of different skin colors and hair types. The titular phrase “You hold me up,” followed by simple words such as “when you listen to me,” is used several times until the final pages, where it is replaced by “I hold you up” and “We hold each other up.” A final, multigenerational picnic is lovely.
Calming, positive, and serenely affirmative. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)