At the beginning of the school year, every teacher focuses on establishing a classroom community and developing relationships among the members of the classroom. Cultivating and maintaining a positive classroom community takes dedication, time and care. You Hold Me Up , by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel is a book that will remind students and adults about the importance of relationships, respect and forgiveness. Readers are encouraged to understand, listen to and appreciate others. The simple text paired with beautiful illustrations will help readers of all ages appreciate the messages in this story.
“This book is all about teamwork!”
“I think it relates to how well we help everyone in our class.”
“You hold me up really means we need to respect each other.”
“It makes me think that I have to respect people at school and at home.”
“I like that every picture has two people in it.”
“We can comfort people to hold them up.”
“When I laugh with someone, I hold them up.”
“I thought it could relate to what we do because we need to be kind and treat each other the way you want to be treated.”
This book was a great way to revisit our classroom mission statement and remind everyone that when the going gets tough, we need to be there for each other. After reading this book, students were able to think about their interactions with each other and decide whether they were holding someone up with their words and/ or behaviors. Students were able to use the examples in the book as ways to hold someone up be it by laughing with someone, listening to another person or even playing with a friend.
In September of 2018, a hardcover edition of this story was published in English and Plains Cree. Students LOVED seeing the Cree paired with the English. The original book was available in the September 2019 Scholastic book order, but was in English only in arrangement with Orca Books. Orca is a great source for Indigineous books and this book is a great addition to any diverse book baskets in a classroom.
Enjoy watching Monique Gray Smith read her book to a group of young readers in this YouTube video.
Both Monique Gray Smith and Danielle Daniel have great websites with many resources. Check it out!