Hey You!: An empowering celebration of growing up Black

‘When was the first time you felt empowered as a Black person – that you deeply believed you could live your dreams?’ This is the question that introduces the reader to Hey You!, a richly illustrated story of love, belief, and the realities of growing up Black, created by Dapo Adeola and illustrated by eighteen other Black illustrators. This gentle but powerful meditation on a Black child’s potential lifts the reader through affirming language and the offer of endless possibility. Inspired by the tragic story of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, this book is a response to a painful history of systemic racism, that leads with hope. The language rings with clarity while retaining its lyricism, ensuring that it avoids empty positivity.

Each spread brings the story forward with a different illustrator and new characters, linking them together with common visual motifs. The choice to tell this story through multiple artistic perspectives reflects the representation of intersectional Blackness, celebrating strength in variety. Different family structures, and characters with a range of interests and appearances are included, so that almost any Black child reading the book will find themselves reflected in it. The common visual language across the book focuses on strong colours and lines, attention to pattern and texture, and a vibrant energy.

A beautiful book that conveys an important and loving message to the Black child reading it, but also to the adults sharing it.