Back in the day, when Craig and Derrick (co-founders of Reach And Teach) were in the midst of working on one of their corporate CD-ROM projects in 2002, the phone rang and Kristi Laughlin, someone we'd never heard of, asked "Would you like to come to Afghanistan on an interfaith peace delegation?" Kristi, who worked for Global Exchange at the time, we would learn later, was married to Inno Nagara, an artist/illustrator/graphics genius who was part of the Design Action Collective, a spin-off of Inkworks Press. If you've been involved in any social justice movements for the last two decades or so you've seen their work. From posters to banners to booklets to web sites to... you name it, the folks at Design Action have done it all.
In fact, when it came time for us to create our very first Reach And Teach product, CIVIO, it was Inno and team that we chose to design the illustrations for the cards. They did a fantastic job! Beyond our own direct sales of CIVIO, we're also incredibly proud to say that you can buy the game at the Brown v Board of Education Museum (Western National Parks Association) in Topeka Kansas! Design Action's work really is everywhere!
Now back to our story....
In the years after Kristi took us to Afghanistan we've become close friends with her and Inno and were thrilled when they had their first child, Arief. "We'll be doing a lot of shopping at Reach And Teach!" They enthusiastically told us. And they have. But... when Inno went looking for A-Z board books he could read to Arief, we didn't have very much to offer, and what Inno found out on the market left him very unimpressed. So, what does a creative activist do when he discovers that there's a huge gaping hole out there? He fills it!
Inno has written his own A-Z book. And... within just a few weeks of it landing on bookstore shelves (yes, click here to order yours now), the reviews are in! First... We here at Reach And Teach LOVE IT. Fantastic, fun, funny, charming, powerful, eye-popping, cute, awwwwww, and oh my!
Yes Magazine Says: From Activist to Zapatista, this "children's book for the 99 percent" infuses the alphabet with the energy and consciousness of Occupy Wall Street....The undiluted message has caught the attention of leading progressive figures, including author Naomi Klein and her partner Avi Lewis, who proclaimed it "Full of wit, beauty, and fun!" Native American activist and children's book author Winona LaDuke called it a "fun and vital resource."
And for all the families out there eager to transmit their values at story time, it is indeed vital. After all, there aren't too many alphabet books that begin with Activists and end with Zapatistas.
Medea Benjamin (cofounder Global Exchange and Code Pink): This is the perfect gift for every child-and every parent-in your life. Fun, funny, exquisitely illustrated and brilliantly written with a message that is sure to resonate with kids, who have an innate sense of fairness. May a thousand young activists bloom!
Rona Renner (RN, Parent Educator, Host Childhood Matters RadioShow): Innosanto Nagara's book "A is for Activist" is beautiful, inspiring, and offers an opportunity for parents to explore their values with their children. At this time in history we need books for children that use words like, justice, ally, freedom, and advocate. Our children are the activists who will help to heal the world.
Opal Palmer Adisa (award-winning poet, novelist, performance artist and educator. Former parenting editor and host of KPFA Radio Parenting show): A is for Activist is one of the most progressive books written for children, that provides them with a concrete example of a way of being beyond the everyday and the mundane. It is written from the premise that children are thinking beings and innately want justice and equality for themselves. Inclusive and engaging, definitely a book for the 21st century and beyond. Brilliantly conceived.
David Barsamian (Director, Alternative Radio): Brilliantly creative and innovative. A terrific mix of language and politics. Sure to engage young people and expand their minds.
Tomas Moniz (writer/editor rad dad zine, a zine on radical parenting): A is for Activist is a welcome addition to the family of kids books that speak to the possibilities of change, of proactive parenting, of creating community, of celebrating the powerful everyday people we have in our lives and in our collective histories. This book is rad!
Now Buy the Book!
We're really proud to have had a bit of a role in birthing this book (providing lots of advice and encouragement to Inno) and are so glad to have Inno and Kristi and Arief and the team at Design Action in our lives. We think this book should be a must-have in 100% of the homes out there with little ones, don't you? Well, if you agree, then please help spread the word and BUY THE BOOK.
Yes David, I'll be clear..... Click here to buy the book.