BOOK REVIEWS

A is for Activist Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-08-07 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 170 user ratings
ISBN:1609805399
LANGUAGE:English

"I've tried very hard to keep quiet about this book but how can it be the ONLY book for kids younger than 5 on Oakland Public Library's list of books for "Talking to Kids about Racism and Justice"? This is a terrible book. The illustrations are mediocre, it's poorly written with an awkward flow and the text does not match the intended audience. This book is for adults- it's not for babies and kids. It might be the only board book that outright discusses (hits you over the head with) these topics but there's a reason for that. At this age I prefer to read quiet stories that prominently feature characters who are not white, from a variety of backgrounds and non-traditional families living their normal lives. Off the top of my head I am thinking of books by John Steptoe, Ezra Jack Keats, "10, 9, 8" by Molly Bang and "One Family" by George Shannon. There are tons more and they are all much better written and illustrated than A is for Activist. This is a fun book to give to your activist friends at their nonconformist baby shower but stop putting it on book lists as if this is something authors should strive for. " said.

"This is a cute book that I'd say we activists have been waiting a long time to read to the little ones. The artwork is wonderful and it celebrates the culture and politics of many different protest movements. More great things about the book below the minuses.

Minuses: there are some big words, and things that people outside of the radical left might not understand (banner hangs, for instance- sometimes people will do guerrilla installations of banners to get a political message out because they feel that their message cannot get out through the mainstream/corporate media); there are some letters that words are lacking for (like V - instead, the author uses words that rhyme with the one word that came to mind; also, there's one word for U, but some words that start with W are used to talk about things related to it); sometimes a letter might be used, but it refers to things that have the sound most commonly associated with that letter (H). One thing that is bothering me more and more as time goes on is that on the B page it talks about doing banner hangs, and says "Because you're not shy." I don't like the way it implies that being shy is not a good thing. Banner hangs like the one depicted in the book are only to be conducted by people who are well-trained and well-equipped.

Pluses: there are so many awesome things in this book. The H page shows people hoeing and harvesting in a field (clever, says this aspiring farmer!), and a mom breastfeeding her baby - healthy! The P page is about protesting. The R page shows a vigil that has heroes from various movements in the front of the crowd. There is a black kitty cat on nearly every page (this is related to the Industrial Workers of the World union, for those who don't know). There are things that people will have to look up elsewhere in order to understand them (why history's lessons related to Malcolm X could be complex, for instance), and it's great that we have the world wide web as a resource for learning more about them... The book celebrates diversity of age, gender, mobility, skin color, culture, sexual orientation, and even relationship orientation. Get this book! New edition in fall of 2013.
" said.

" I love what this book is trying to achieve, and really wanted to love it enough to buy copies for all the children that I love in my life, but the language just misses the mark which is a shame because there's a need for progressive books for children on this topic. " said.

" Start them young! Obviously this isn't actually propaganda targeted at children because they won't have a grasp on most of the language or concepts, but it's great anyway. "Open minds operate best. Critical thinking over tests. Wisdom can't be memorized. Educate! Agitate! Organize!" " said.

" Love love love. Great subject matter, truly a thinker. Loved the hidden cat game as well. " said.

" This is intended to introduce young children to activism through the alphabet, with rhymes for each letter and lots of artwork. It is a great-looking book, but I think some of the vocabulary is too advanced for very young children - I think there are some adults who might even struggle through some of the pronunciations while reading this out loud. " said.

" I really, really enjoyed this for me, myself, an adult, but I have to take off a star for the fact that there are some big concepts for kids to understand (especially since it's framed in the context of an ABC book), there is a huge range of issues covered that not every progressive might agree on, and there are a few scathing lines that ring pretty bitter " said.

" What a marvelous little board book. It is a beautiful way to introduce your favorite toddler to the concepts of activism, diversity, environment, and other important issues. " said.

September 2017 New Book:

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