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About the Author
Monique Gray Smith is a mixed-heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Her picture book My Heart Fills with Happiness won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize and was selected as the TD Grade One Giveaway Book for all first-grade students in Canada in 2019. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lekwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia.
Danielle Daniel is the author and illustrator of Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, a finalist for the First Nation Communities Read Award and the Blue Spruce Award and a New York Public Library's Most Notable Books of 2015. Danielle is currently working on two novels and completing an MFA in creative writing through UBC. She writes and paints in Sudbury, Ontario.
"Smith's text is heartwarming! And the illustrations, by Danielle Daniel, reflect Native people in the present day. Like My Heart Fills with Happiness, this new book by Smith is one that parents, grandparents, pre-school and elementary teachers, and librarians, will want to have on their shelves."--Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature
"People of all ages can find something of value within the pages of Monique Gray Smith and Danielle Daniel's book…Smith has Cree and Lakota ancestry, while Daniel is Métis. With this book, they become quiet and understated—yet powerful—voices in an age of reconciliation. You Hold Me Up is simple, yet beautiful, subtle but thought-provoking. It contains critical messages about love, unity, and support. Through carefully chosen words and strong, colourful are, the book presents an important reminder to readers to sustain and support one another. Highly Recommended."--CM Magazine
"Perfect for a shared storytime as well as a lap-sit reading session, the actions of each person emphasize community, togetherness, and mutual respect. While sharing is a universal concept, Daniel's illustrations bring specificity to the narrative…Just as in Smith's board book My Heart Fills with Happiness, readers will joyfully make connections between their own communities and the indigenous one depicted here."--IndiePicks Magazine
"Smith's text is simple, but powerful, about the small and essential ways we all support each other…Daniel's illustrations have a playful approach, but are also nicely stylized and textured, with a collage effect and fine details, warm and familiar images of people together…Smith is writing about survival and resilience, about the strength and power that comes from the love we give each other."--Pickle Me This blog
"You Hold Me Up is a simply written book with a powerful message: we need each other…The story is simple enough that the youngest reader can read and understand; the vocabulary is not difficult or challenging for most readers. The book is an excellent way to start dialogue with children about ways we can show respect for one another and talk about how we treat each other. This book could certainly be used in lessons on reconciliation, manners, friendships, and relationships in general. It is an excellent book to use for reading aloud and prompting students to list examples of kindness and sharing. It would be a wonderful addition to any children's library."--Resource Links
"In simple words and simple illustrations these profoundly important messages are given to children. The sparsity of the words conveys the messages even more strongly."--Youth Services Book Review
"You Hold Me Up is a gentle but effective way to introduce the topic of Reconciliation to students of all ages."--ETFO Voice
"You Hold Me Up is a welcome addition to the ongoing conversations around healing and rebuilding relationships…Gentle, relevant and never heavy-handed, this book serves both as a quiet lullaby and a starting point for discussions on empathy, community and wellness."--Canadian Children's Book News
"A seemingly simple picture book that conveys a valuable message for all ages…The distinctive and soft illustrations by Daniel enhance the positive message by Smith about the power of companionship, compassion, respect and togetherness…This quiet book has a deep beauty and a universal message. "--Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Jury
"Ideal for early readers by themselves, for lap-sitting, or as a read-aloud."--Canadian Literature
"Warm illustrations help to expand the brief text."--The Horn Book Online