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Book Review: A is for Activist, and Counting on Community –two children books by Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist.
Advocate.  Abolitionist.  Ally.
Actively Answering A call to Action.
Are you An Activist?

B is for Banner, Bobbing in the sky.
Billowing in the Breeze, ‘cuz you’re not shy!

C is for Co-op.
Cooperating Cultures.
Creative Counter to Corporate vultures.

What’s this?  Some kind of alphabet game?

No!  It’s the first verses from the bestselling children’s book A is for Activist, written and illustrated by Indonesia native Innosanto Nagara. (

Nagara, a longtime social justice activist, originally wrote this alphabet board book for his son, but his friends wanted him to print more copies.  After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, he self-published the book.  It quickly sold out, so he searched for a publisher and chose Triangle Books, an imprint of Seven Stories Press.  The book was released in November 2013.

The 26 verses throughout the book, accompanied by rich, multilayered illustrations, can serve as a starting point for parents to talk to their children about all manner of progressive issues.  There are rhymes and pictures about environmentalism, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, democracy, healthy food, indigenous rights, immigrant rights, labour unions, and many other issues that matter to activists.

I believe the book would be quite popular in Nova Scotia.  We have a strong social activist community of individuals and organizations, especially in Halifax, and this book speaks to the many social issues that concern them.

While A is for Activist is intended for children up to age 3, it can also be read by older children and even adults.  In fact, I think it’ll make you want to learn your ABCs all over again!

Two years later, Nagara published his second children’s book, Counting on Community.  Shorter than A is for Activist, this one is a counting board book.  Written in the same style, and also featuring Nagara’s vibrant artwork, the book mainly teaches children about the importance of their communities.  It also highlights how fun environmental activities can be, and most importantly, promotes the importance of taking care of one another.

Again, like A is for Activist, Counting on Community is meant for toddlers, but older children and adults will like it too.

So in conclusion, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the budding young activist in your life, why not order a copy of A is for Activist and Counting on Community?  I’m sure the kids will love it!

And while you’re at it, why not check out some of Seven Stories Press other books, as well? 

If you can, please support the Nova Scotia Advocate so that it can continue to cover issues such as poverty, racism, exclusion, workers’ rights and the environment in Nova Scotia. A pay wall is not an option, since it would exclude many readers who don’t have any disposable income at all. We rely entirely on one-time donations and a tiny but mighty group of dedicated monthly sustainers.