It’s written AND Illustrated by Global Exchange longtime ally Innosanto Nagara, who along with Design Action Collective has been designing Global Exchange materials for over a decade. (Some of you might remember the GAP sweatshops campaign?)
I’ve personally worked with Inno on many projects over the years, and when I heard he had a children’s book coming out about activism, my first thought was, well, of course he does!
Inno is a true activist, design his modus operandi, and now that he’s a proud papa, I can think of no better person to create such a book.
A is for Activist is colorful and (of course) visually striking, given Inno’s background. Plus with punchy words and a worthy message, it looks like a fun read for both the reader and the wee one(s).
I asked author Inno what inspired him to write A is for Activist, and here’s what he had to say:
Well, my son turned two in June. He’s my first child, but he’s also the eighth child to be born into my home community. The eldest is now twelve, so I’ve spent a lot of time with children’s books.
The best books—the ones my son enjoys the most and I enjoy reading over and over—are the ones that have the best rhythm and cadence. Dr. Seuss books are the best example of this. The words are often made-up. The stories are wacky. But they are fun to read for the parents, and the kids are engaged.
The other books that my son enjoys are the ones with (lightly) hidden images that he can look for. Sometimes there’s not a lot of writing—just illustrations with layers and depth. “Three alligators, and two cockatoos. Can you find the cockatoos?”
Finally, there are those “theme” books that speak to the parent’s interests and values: Architecture ABCs (from our friends who are architects), Goodnight San Francisco (for those who live in SF), and so on.
This got me thinking, what would a book that did all of that for my family look like? It would be about activism, of course. The rhymes would be about stuff I cared about and be fun to read. I’d be reading this book over and over, so I’d want it to be something I’d enjoy discovering meaning in.
But more importantly it would need to be full of big, fun words and rhymes for my son. Cool words, like “Zapatista!” Oh, and the illustrations would need to be striking and layered and full of surprises for both of us. And of course there had to be a cat on every page.
So that’s what I set out to do.