Cover Image: Allies


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Member Reviews

Allies includes 16 chapters written by different authors that help and inspire the reader on their lifelong journey of being an ally. Each chapter includes tips and inspirational stories/anecdotes, and each contributor explains how complicated being an ally can be without the pretense that they have all the answers or that they (or you) have never made mistakes while trying to be an ally.

As Shakirah Bourne says in Chapter 7, "A key step to becoming an ally is empathy - opening your eyes to the reality of the less privileged and acknowledging that despite your best efforts, you may have implicit biases and prejudices." 

These stories do not eliminate how uncomfortable and hard conversations about inequality and race are in various contexts and occasions, but help us further see the importance of having them even when it's not easy.

I also enjoyed a lot how chapter 8 was narrated in a comic format and the last section that included lists of important organizations, resources, and books/digital media. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC!
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This is a great read to start your journey to becoming a more educated ally! Some of the formatting wasn't the easiest to follow in the E-ARC but that wouldn't be an issue when reading a physical copy.
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Ally, checking privilege, showing up, keep trying,

This book is a fantastic starting point for anyone to learn what it means to be an ally. The formate and wording were fun, light and easy to understand. I really liked how accessible the chapters were with a focus that no one is perfect and mistakes are understandable so long as you continue to try and learn with an open heart and mind. 

I will definitely be keeping a copy in my classroom.     

Special thank you to NetGalley and DK Publishing for sharing this digital copy in exchange for my honest thoughts. 
#NetGalley #AlliesRealTalk
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Allies is a brilliant book that offer perspectives seldom found elsewhere. The variety of perspectives and personal experiences shared is so valuable for any reader. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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See my starred review in School Library Journal at
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What a timely and incredible book that should be required reading in our education system. I loved the framework of this book and felt that it helped me fly through this book. Many times people feel as though they are being an "ally" but in fact may be causing more of a hindrance than they realize. This provides feedback and perspectives that many may not be aware of, in a very friendly and inviting way. I encourage all readers who want a "playbook" on how to be a helpful ally in today's world, pick this up, you WILL NOT be disappointed!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my review.
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This is an easy to read collection of essays/offerings from some YA authors, giving samples/examples of how to step up to be an ally, to be a positive in someone's life. Some might tell a story about when they saw someone step up, or when they themselves stepped up, or they might tell about when they didn't show up for another....& should have. And they talk about how standing up for someone isn't always the easiest thing to do, & can even be complicated. At the end of the book is a list of some organizations/resources that can offer some help, also some book recommendations, websites & digital media & podcasts that address this cause. The book is a good offering on a worthwhile subject....& not just for YA readers, but older readers too!
I received an e-copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review purposes. These are my own honest thoughts/opinions.
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Allies is an incredible collection of essays focusing on allyship, written by YA authors. The stories these authors share are personal and varied, just like their experiences: some essays are about the allyship they extended towards other people, some were about how they received help and support from other people and what it meant for them. Some, and I personally think those were the most important, were about failing as an ally. There is a big emphasis on the fact that everyone will make mistakes even if they mean well and I believe it’s a crucial fact that needs to be talked about, because the fear of failing often stops people from doing the right thing. The essays show the ways some authors failed, but then improved, how they managed to learn and move on from missteps.

The book is addressed to younger people and teenagers, so the language is easy to follow and all the used terms are explained in a digestible way. I loved the resources at the end of the book! The self reflection prompts made the experience of reading the essays more introspective and reflective, and the book list helped me add several titles to my TBR pile.

Allies is such an important book in today’s world. Although many of the things explained in it are probably already known to people who consider themselves allies, it’s a great starting point for the younger generations. It’s also a quick and amazing refresher course for all of us, no matter our age or experience, because allyship is a lifelong work which requires constant learning.
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3 stars 

This read was a bit middle of the road for me. There were a few entries that I really liked and felt that they went above the basic primer/101 of intersectional allyship, but overall I felt that the majority of the pieces were very surface level. I think that this collection is more geared towards those just starting to come in to their activism and acknowledgement of their privilege, but not really for those who are looking for more nuanced texts. 

Still I think guides, texts, and collections like this are really great to have because no matter where you are in your understanding of privilege and being an ally it is great that awareness is there; and that you are trying to work on being a more informed and active member in fighting against white supremacy, while also learning how to do that without talking over people of color and the other voices you are trying to stand with. So overall I think this is a nice place to start but those who are wanting a more nuanced and layered text may want to look somewhere else.

ARC given by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again in exchange for an honest review.

This was really well done. Allies takes a very conversational approach to teaching about allyship in all of its essays which means it both more easily consumable and more impactful while also being able to teach it's audience more about the many facets, complexities, and ways they can be an ally. All the essays in this are distinctively important and add more to the collection and while it'd be impossible to make a perfect guide on allyship, this one comes pretty close.
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Pros: As a white woman, I recognize that I am in the position to be an ally, and I think it will be a life-long learning experience to be an ally for the people both in my life and those who I do not know. I appreciated the subtitle of this book and the recognition that those of us who want to be allies aren’t always going to get it right but that we can try again. It recognizes that we cannot just declare ourselves to be allies and always get it right—that can be complicated, and we will make mistakes. 

Regarding the individual essays, I appreciated the diversity of experiences and types of allyship featured—race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc. I thought the first essay was a fantastic overview to allyship and would be great to share with people who are new to the concept. Although I thought these essays would be more for young adults, I found them to be accessible to allies of all ages.

I thought the resources included at the end of this book were fantastic for continuing the work toward allyship. I especially appreciated that it included action items and provided scripts.

Cons: None that I can think of except it is disheartening to think of those people who will shy away from books like this. I can see how some people (e.g., the all-lives-matter types, the love the sinner types) would think this book is not for them, but I think those people are the ones who need this book the most. 

Thank you to NetGalley and DK, DK Children for the opportunity to read this book.
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Allies is a collection of essays that talk up close and personal about what it means to be an ally and why it's so important. This entire book really felt like sitting down with some friends and listening to their heartfelt stories. I found myself really enjoying the various writing styles and I hope to follow the work of the various people involved. Definitely recommend this book.
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A collection of stories from young adult authors about supporting each other.  Could be a good classroom resource for teachers.
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Edited by authors Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy, who also contribute, Allies is as the title suggests is an accounting of “real talk about showing up, screwing up, and trying again.” Sixteen very real, very honest accounts of allyship in all its forms from authors/speakers/activists such as Adiba Jaigirdar, Eric Smith, Marietta B. Zacker, Naomi and Natalie Evans, Andrea L. Rogers, and many more.

Now, depending on where you are on your journey to being an ally to marginalized people, this book will either be a revelation or further reinforcement that you are doing right by a people who have historically been vilified, abused, demeaned, and held back through no fault of their own. If it’s a case of the former, welcome to allyship, and like almost anything else you’ll realize quickly that being an ally is not monolithic. It takes on many shapes and sizes, and not everyone you meet will be one of history’s greatest revolutionaries. In fact, many of the things you’ll do as an ally are actually quite small, easily accessible, and seemingly insignificant, and that should assuage any sense of anxiety or dismay you may have at the prospect of such an endeavor. But trust me when I say this, while the actions may appear inconsequential, that pales in comparison to the impact you can have on someone else’s life.

Allies starts off with an “Allyship for dummies…” type of chapter from one of the book’s editors, Dana Alison Levy, and if that was the entirety of this book, that would be good enough. It’s a plainly spoken but highly effective introduction to the world of allyship. It’s also a pragmatically imbued pithy primer for the 15 or so real-life testimonials you’re about to go through, which, full disclosure, may be difficult reading for some. Truth and honesty are like that, they’re not always easy to hear, especially when it causes an uncomfortable yet inevitable bit of self-reflection, but you can’t start your journey without them, it’s that simple. You can’t afford to and neither can the marginalized people who may need your allyship.

These testimonials and attestations deliver a wide cross-section of bigotry, ignorance, and hate, covering a decent amount of real estate in the spectrum of allyship. Intersexuality, physical disabilities, mental health, racism, sexism, and Islamophobia are all touched upon in some way by these audacious souls, and that’s just a few of the topics you can expect to read about either as a solo act or through the lens of Intersectionality. Put simply, these authors share their truths, moments of honest reflections and deliberations all meant to provide real life examples of both good and bad allyship.

Ultimately the point of all this is to show you that bigotry, ableism, chauvinism, any “ism” and “phobia” you can dream up takes many forms, and therefor so should your allyship. Brendan Keily says, “Doing nothing is behaviour” and that’s a very powerful statement as it really calls out a majority of the population who don’t always say something, when they see something. It’s a truism that saying nothing is as complicit as the hateful act itself, whatever it may be, and I urge those new to ally-dom to flex this muscle early and often. So, if you’re struggling to find a starting point, make it this, if you see something, say something.

What’s great about this book is the complete lack of pretension; it isn’t preachy, it isn’t performative, it’s real people talking about real issues, and what you do with that information is entirely up to you. There are no glares being cast nor are their judgements being made, it’s an honest exchange, a silent understanding that if this book is in your hands, guidance and insight is exactly what you’re looking for. And entries like Brendan Kiely’s A Bus, A Poster, and a Mirror and I.W. Gregorio’s From Author, to Ally, to Co-conspirator which obstinately describes situations in their life when they were circumspect in the defense of others, really help form this narrative around the concept of reconciliation through learning, through listening, through atonement.

And the back matter of the book titled, “Stuff to think about…” allows you to do just that, which is really more of a resource guide, meant to kick-start your journey into allyship, help you organize your thoughts and put together an action plan. There you’ll find things such as organizations you can support, helpful books, advice when it comes to social interactions, and so on. It’s meant to help you come to terms with everything you’ve just read, which can be very emotional at times, and help sort through your feelings on any one particular issue or multiple even. It compartmentalizes the different avenues so that you can find one that’s perhaps best suited for you; help you achieve realistic goals in both the short and long term. Remember what I said about no one person can do it all? Well, this is the part of the book where the rubber meets the road so to speak, putting some action behind those core values, character gasoline.

While not necessarily a forensic examination at the ills of society or clinical look at human nature, Allies more importantly is a usable and practical guide that is dripping with honesty and truth. And again, depending where you are on your journey, the mileage you get out of this book may vary, but whether it serves as a primer or a means to bolster your resolve, its importance cannot be understated. This is a must-have for anyone hoping, wishing, trying for a better world, and the first step on your allyship journey is an easy one, as Shakirah says, shut up and listen.
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Thank you to NetGalley, DK, and DK Children for giving me an ARC of this book. All opinions in this review are my own.

There has been a trend recently to release books with covers like this, and I know if I find them I will be very happy with the content inside. This book was no exception. Allies is a great children's book (at least it is targeted towards children, but it can be a great resource for people of all ages in my opinion) about what allyship means in different contexts through short letters from different authors. These short stories are meaningful and deep without being so complex that younger readers would struggle with the content. It is not an overly long book, but there are many great pieces of information throughout the pages. This is something I think that every library should have as part of the social justice information section, and I think it is a great resource for those children who are not sure where to start and are feeling overwhelmed. I really appreciated the opportunity to read this. 5/5
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“Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying  Again” by Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy is a welcome addition to the expanding space surrounding how to be an ally. Through the lens of 16 the different pieces numerous issues were explored. Things such as race, gender identity, disability. Each piece was told in an authentic way that posed important questions for readers to reflect upon. While it may be presented as a book for Young Adults, I think that it serves as a great introduction for teens (high school) and adults of all ages on what allyship is all about.

I appreciated the fact that one of the first pieces emphasized that it’s ok “start small” - that being an ally doesn’t mean you HAVE to attend large rallies or protests or completely change up your routine. It is more about noticing the little things you can do in your everyday life to be there for others. Another piece talked about how being an ally sometimes means *not* doing something - not speaking for others. Instead, it’s about giving people the space to share their experiences. Their stories. 

As a white, cis, heterosexual disabled woman at first I wasn’t sure how much I’d relate to some of the experiences described in this book. And to be fair, I can’t say that I 100% do relate to every experience because that would be disingenuous. But, i did notice a feeling of “yeah, I can relate” with almost every piece at one point or another. To me, that shows how well the authors throughout the book did when explaining their experiences. I think this empathy is the first step towards being a good ally.

Finally, something that is also really cool about this book is the inclusion of author suggested resources on the various topics discussed, practical suggestions such as phrasing examples for having difficult conversations and numerous reflection prompts! These could serve as discussion questions within a small group or in a classroom, essay topic ideas, or simply as things the reader can reflect upon in whatever way works best for them. 

In conclusion, I think that this book is going to be an important step forward in promoting allyship and understanding of experiences different from our own.

Many thanks to DK Publishing NetGalley for this e-ARC for review in exchange for my honest review.
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This book is spectacular! This collection of voices are diverse and will inspire you to be a better person. You will feel your heart break and be warmed by these storytellers. This book should be used in classrooms to help students learn about empathy, kindness, and compassion. I guarantee you will learn something from reading this book.
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This was such an incredible, diverse anthology, and I don't think I could recommend it enough!

"Allies" is an anthology of 16 different essays discussing what exactly an ally is. It was incredibly heartfelt and emotional, and each essay felt personal. The line-up in and of itself was extremely diverse, covering race, sexuality, gender, religion, and disability.

I felt like I was learning something new with every page - whether that meant learning something about a specific identity or learning how I can be a better ally. I also found all the essays to be extremely interesting and engaging, and there wasn't a single one I didn't enjoy.

Overall, this is definitely a book I'd recommend. I really felt like I learned a lot, and I'll definitely want to pick up a physical copy at some point!
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