You Hold Me Up by M. Gray Smith

  • Sandy Campbell


Gray Smith, Monique. You Hold Me Up. Illustrated by Danielle Daniel. Orca Book Publishers, 2017.

Monique Gray Smith is not a prolific author, but her works have impact. She writes from her knowledge of the impact of the Indian Residential Schools on Canadian Indigenous people. Gray Smith is a mixed-heritage woman (Cree, Lakota and Scottish) who wrote this book “to remind us of our common humanity and the importance of holding each other up with respect and dignity.” “With this book,” she says, “we are embarking on a journey of reconciliation and healing.” 

Gray Smith uses simple terms and sentences, appropriate to a Kindergarten to Grade 3 audience, to describe the things that individuals can do in their relationships to move forward in reconciliation. Danielle Daniel’s brightly coloured, stylized illustrations reflect these concepts. The concepts include being kind to each other, sharing, learning, playing, laughing and singing together, and comforting, respecting and listening to each other. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls all Canadians to move forward together in reconciliation, a task that can appear to be daunting and overwhelming. Gray Smith provides a simple blueprint for small steps forward, the most basic being that we can “hold each other up.”

This book is highly recommended for elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Sandy Campbell

Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines. Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. 

How to Cite
CampbellS. (2019). You Hold Me Up by M. Gray Smith. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 8(3).
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