You Matter by Christian Robinson

“For anyone who isn’t sure if they matter. You do.”

When a book opens with this dedication, you know it’s going to be something special. You might have seen Christian Robinson’s newest gem floating around the internet and wondered if it’s really worth the hype that it’s getting… And it absolutely is! You Matter is one worth owning, worth the space on your front-facing shelf, and worth reading and re-reading over and over again and returning to as your child grow and come in and out of confidence.

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As Robinson writes in the dedication, You Matter is a reminder that everyone, big or small, matters. Starting with nature too small to see (accessible only through a microscope), moving as big as the sun (which matters, even though it’s really gassy… We love that play on words!), and winding back down through communities, families, and friends, Robinson covers just about everything on Earth and beyond. It’s all connected. And, guess what? It all matters!

You Matter is wonderfully diverse. We’ve come to expect it from Robinson’s works, and in a story that covers everything from microscopic nature to the burning sun, it’s definitely appropriate here. From a Black female astronaut to a child in a wheelchair and a girl in a hijab, they all matter. From the sea life that moves to land that becomes dinosaurs to the asteroid plummeting toward Earth, they all matter.

And, as always, Robinson’s illustrations are unique, colorful, and somehow simple yet full of emotion. And, as is often true with the best illustrations, discerning eyes will see that they tell the story just as much, if not more, than the words. Those eyes will connect 3 separate pages to make a narrative, such as a mosquito, that bites the tail of a dinosaur, that lags behind his herd because he stopped to scratch. They’ll notice the photograph the astronaut is holding, and they’ll realize they’ve seen that boy elsewhere in the story. They’ll discuss every person crossing the street, wondering how each and every one might feel “lost and alone,” and they’ll create stories around where the boy in the airplane on the very last page is going.

Yes, the words in You Matter are important. They carry a powerful reminder that we should always remember. But, these pictures will draw parent and child, teacher and student, together. And in those conversations over these pictures, the magic will happen.

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