Saturday, December 28, 2013

A is for Activist (Innosanto Nagara)

From an early age, children are introduced to animals, right and wrong, concepts of fulfilment and disappointment, fear and joy, all through chewed hardback books. Princesses are in need of rescue, dogs misbehave and talk, mice covet strawberries. Wealth is equated with happiness, poverty with sorrow.

How do you introduce the concepts of social justice, gender equality, caring for the environment, and the responsibility for citizens to fight for each other’s rights?

Innosanto Nagara wrote A is for Activist.

Originally funded via a Kickstarter campaign it a introduces children to an A-Z of vocabulary from Activism, Advocate, Banner, Co-op, Democracy, all the way through to Zapatista.

The board book is full of alliterations and rhymes, together with rich drawings.
F is for Feminist.
For Fairness in our pay.
For Freedom to Flourish
and choose our own way.
I remember taking our daughter to the ICTU-organised rally in front of the City Hall in July 2009 after the series of racist attacks against Romanian families in Belfast. One way of instilling values into your children is to teach them through your own actions.

(Incidentally, I also remember living with the consequence of a long lens photo of my daughter popping up again and again in the Belfast Telegraph after that rally in which it looked like she was carrying a placard (that she wasn’t) while sitting on her parent’s shoulders. When she’s older, I’ll give her the clipping as a memento of the birth of her activism!)

There are times when I’d need to resort to Google or Wikipedia to get the background on some of the characters mentioned on the pages of the book. Not all the content entirely matches my politics.

However, A is for Activist is a fantastic way of helping your children be more critical in their thinking from an early age … and potentially starting a revolution on the school council!

And as a festive teaser, can you name any of the people in the 'R' candle-lit vigil above? I'll post the answers in a day or two.

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