ALLIES – Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again

“Most of us come to allyship with zero knowledge and experience, and it’s our responsibility to fill in the gaps in our knowledge” – Adiba Jaigirdar

Are you an ally? Would you call yourself an ally? Are you an ally to some and not to others? Have you thought about why this is? Do you know what being an ally means and involves? You might feel like an ally but do the people you think you’re supporting know it? Do you step up when it matters?

These are all questions that I found myself thinking when reading ALLIES, a collection of personal essays and stories showcasing the lived experiences from 17 critically acclaimed YA authors that each touch on a different area of what it means to be an ally.

ALLIES features essays from Shakirah Bourne, Derick Brooks, Sharan Dhaliwal, Naomi and Natalie Evans, I. W. Gregorio, Lizzie Huxley-Jones, Adiba Jaigirdar, Brendan Kiely, Dana Alison Levy, Cam Montgomery, Andrea L. Rogers, Aida Salazar, A. J. Sass, Eric Smith, Kayla Whaley, and Marietta B. Zacker.

It’s a brilliant book that sparks self-reflection and helps you consider your role in supporting others.

I read this book in one sitting and while it has a lot to unpack, it made me realise that as a Black woman there is so much more that I could be doing to show my support for marginalised groups.

While Allies is aimed at 14+, I was able to use the book to spark conversations with both kids (13 and 10) referencing situations where I feel I could have shown up differently in the moment and how I will approach things in the future.

One of the things I really liked about the book is that the varied essays show that there isn’t just one way of being an ally and that showing up can look different depending on the needs of the person or marginalised group and the situation.

At the end of the book it contains lists of resources that you can use to follow up on and we’ll be checking those out as well. Just reading the book is not enough, but it can serve as the first step to taking action. The prompts, resources, journaling ideas, and further reading suggestions help you discover what you can do to become a better ally.

A portion of proceeds from Allies, is going to The Black Curriculum UK and it is out now.

Thank you to DK Books for the review copy.