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A is for Activist

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,854 ratings  ·  321 reviews
A is for Activist is an ABC board book for the next generation of progressives: Families that want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on.
Board book, 32 pages
Published October 2012 by Kupu Kupu Press
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Grant Huling The book says it's appropriate for 3-year-olds. It's not. The language is appropriate for middle-schoolers and the concepts are appropriate for colleg…moreThe book says it's appropriate for 3-year-olds. It's not. The language is appropriate for middle-schoolers and the concepts are appropriate for college students. This is a novelty purchase, NOT a book to use to teach your child the alphabet.(less)

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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  1,854 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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ncn nothing
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I first read this book, I laughed out loud. Beautiful, radical, but... "Querying Qualities Quickly Quell Distortion" ??? "Not a good kids' book," I quickly dismissed.

And so I believed... until I read it to a two-year-old who was TOTALLY IN LOVE with it. It kept his attention, A to Z. Even reading every word on each page. (And searching for the cat. And sometimes mice.)

Also, the jargon-y language, in action, served as great discussion prompts with some of the older kids in the room. (The old
Krista Regester
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
YES. Got into a little tiff with a coworker about this book - and if it was "too early for children to be learning such vocabulary." THE EARLIER THE BETTER LADY
Lisa Vegan
Not for me!

I’m so disappointed because I’d seen this book on someone’s (real) shelves and jumped to reserve it at the library to see if I’d want this for giving new baby gifts. What a great idea!

The most stars I would have given anyway is 3.

This is a board book, so presumably geared toward babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and their adults. The illustrations are colorful and interesting and while I’m not a huge fan of their style, I think many readers will like them, including young readers/l
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've come home from work to catch my father-in-law brainwashing my kids with Fox News playing on TV so it's nice to finally be able to combat that nonsense with an over-the-top left-leaning screed like this alphabet book.

And while most of the words and concepts went over my kids' 4-year old heads I found it inspiring me to start my own "Occupy" type of event. (Then I remembered I'm lazy and protests are for the youth still living at home with their parents.)
Mama Bibliosoph
Mar 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: alphabet-books
I share the politics of the author, but I am a mom to two kids with autism and I need my kids' books to do something for them. This book is totally developmentally inappropriate for children. There are too many words on each page. And the words are way too complicated. There is no consistent rhyme or meter pattern for kids to anchor themselves in the text. The pictures don't always provide context.

I would love to buy an alphabet board book--or any board book--that is engaging, developmentally ap
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note that some of the negative reviews complain that it's not suitable for a board book, or for tots. Well, there is a hardcover. And it's fine for preschool on up, though of course it'll lead to richer discussions with older children. But even the youngest can appreciate the diverse characters, the rich & powerfully vivid illustrations, and the concept. It's not an ABC primer, of course, but it's great for anyone who wants the world to be more inclusive and more sane. (It even includes carnivor ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful artwork, a great message, never to early to get progressive thoughts brewing in little minds. H is for healthy, j is for justice! And there is a cat...
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm so left wing that it hurts sometimes, but I found this book very uncomfortable to read because it is so preachy. It definitely has an "us against them" feel, and comes out of a lot of anger towards racism, sexism, environmental harm, inequality, etc., which is felt in the book.

The rule of thumb for conservation educators and teachers is that up to grade 4, we teach children the GOOD only. The wise mentors teach to love all critters, the earth, and treat all living beings (including humans) w
Lisa Newhouse
Aug 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
I like the idea of sharing your beliefs with your children, but I think this book is slightly ridiculous. Number one, this is a board book. The words on the pages are very high level words. I read this book with a third grader and she didn't understand what was going on! If you want to make a board book touching on social issues it should be understandable for young children. The only thing the third grader liked about this book was looking for the cats hidden on each page. I liked that it provi ...more
Dallas Reinhart
May 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read it on a dare. Just to put it out there.

Look, I get it. You want to teach your kids how to be tolerant and kind to everyone while being woke and ready to take on the world's problems. I get it. But how will this help?

Not to mention how hamfisted and heavy-handed it is about its agenda. I mean, even the Doctor Suess books used an analogy to teach kids about sharing, environmental protection, etc. This book doesn't even bother. It's as subtle as a brick through a Starbuck's windows.

Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
A grand idea, but I think it lacks something in it's fruition. This reads like a board book for adults. Kids who are reading board books are not going to read this, nor will they be able to understand it. The picture book version makes way more sense but it still was weird to read. I don't think that the "A is for..." style is the best way to do this. All in all sort of a disappointment.
Mihaela Edge
Feb 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Vapid and vacuos content!
Kaethe Douglas
All of a sudden Hoopla (one of several providers of econtent for my local library) has visible representation. It's horrific that they couldn't lead as a provider, that it took international protests for them to embrace non-white creators and content, but that's systematic racism for you.

Anyway, lovely book with a fun rhyming rhythm and an upbeat delivery: plus a recurring cat theme. A board book with inclusive, non-binary pronouns? Oh, hells yes! If anyone ever has babies again, this will becom
Karen Bromley
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A former colleague posted a photo of a children’s book as her Facebook profile picture – A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara. A board book about activism? Yes!

My first read through of the book was choppy. It took me a couple of reads to get the rhythm of the words (it could also be that I have no rhythm). But as I continued to make the book part of our family’s reading rotation, I picked up the cadence and was able to have fun reading it aloud to my kids. On top of the lyricism of the text, Na
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, politics, queer
This book is propaganda for kids, obviously, which makes me a little uncomfortable, as much I agree with the opinions. However, that kind of discomfort-turned-into-honest-dialogue is exactly what's missing from children's books these days, so I applaud this one.
Bonnie Tesch
Jun 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: community, politics, young
It was pretty, but as a tiny board/alphabet book, the vocabulary is way too big and complex for any of the logical readers, without definitions to help.
Vamos a Leer
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A is for Activist, written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara, takes your classic alphabet book and adds a twist of political motivation. Written in a format usually meant to teach kids their ABCs, Nagara takes this intention of educating a step further. Each page follows a theme of civil rights and political activism, while promoting values such as peace, acceptance and independent thought. In emphasizing these values, Nagara also directly calls attention to contemporary topics in social justi ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my niece who’s too young to understand it right now but she loves the colors and the cat and someday when she’s older knowing about unions and equality will be helpful
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love things that you accidentally stumble upon that impact you. A is for Activist is an example of this. This is one of the most progressive and amazing books that I've ever read. This is the book that is filled with ideas that so many parents may want to share with their children, but are afraid to. It talks about many controversial topics including feminism, LGBTQ issues, and immigration to name a few. This book is not only good for children, but for adults as well. I learned a few things wh ...more
Tin Cheung
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and simple rhyming board book that highlights big topics. It starts the ball rolling for conversations parents and caregivers can have with their child about people's rights.

Plus there is a fun cat hidden on each page
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Awesome, beautiful, and fun! Big congrats to Inno for getting this marvelous book made.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love the message of this book. It teaches children about keeping open minds and taking action for social change.
Elizabeth Chesak
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Not at all surprised the Iowa City Public Library has this lmao

Also I'm very sorry to the librarians for getting ketchup on this book.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book caught my eye from the shelf at the library. A board book on activism? I had to pull it out immediately and thumb through the pages. After a quick peek inside, I excitedly put it in our book pile and we checked it out.

A is for Activism, written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara, was an amazing find! The art in the book is beautifully unique and it manages to keep my toddler's attention - which is quite a rarity these days. It's wonderful when I stumble across something engaging and
Catherine King
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: my-reviews
I have to agree with other people here... this book is really for the adults who want to feel good about themselves.

There is no further reading section in the back for more resources and explanations. Z is for Zapatistos, great, if you know who they are already. An index or appendix has precedence—see Leo and Diane Dillons’s “To Everything There is a Season.” The meter and rhyme are inconsistent from entry to entry.

And man, I REALLY take issue with the page for D. “D is for Democracy—Dictators
Jul 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1kbbk
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 ...more
Scott Moore
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Open minds operate best / Critical thinking over tests / Wisdom can't be memorized / Educate! Agitate! Organize!" In a word: Yes.
Maggie Mullis
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: text-set
"A is for Activist" teaches children at a young age about oppression, how to be accepting of others, and how to live a healthy life. It uses the alphabet as a way to do this.

This book is awesome! The illustrations make connections to elements that kids are familiar with, making these difficult concepts easier for children to understand. There also is a cat incorporated into each illustration, which is very interesting. The author uses alliterations throughout the book, creating a kind of rhythm
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So great. While most board books are about 'look a cat' 'is that red?' 'orange. mom. cloud.' 'time to share.' this brings things a bit more in the real world, with a touch of humor and delight (even in the real world we can still have humor and delight, right?!). i love reading this to my 9-month-old. i doubt he understands any of it, but it's different and fun for me to read to him. i never get bored with it like i do other board books. in fact, it's one of the few books we actually own (we nor ...more
Emily Nabb Baker
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was fabulous. It was full of diversity, politics, feminism, was not your run of the mill board book that is usually presented. I love how books like this present them selves more and more. It is a breath of fresh air considering that most board books are gender specific; that being, in terms of the books telling girls that they are princesses, that they should wear makeup (body issues) and be a wife in the kitchen and boys books concentrate on sports, dinosaurs, and being to ...more
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Anderson- #1 A is for Activist -LGBTQ 1 1 Jun 13, 2019 07:42AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please fix sort title 3 18 May 07, 2018 11:10AM  

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Innosanto Nagara is originally from Indonesia, but moved to the US in 1988 to study zoology and philosophy at UC Davis. Upon graduation, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked as a graphic designer for a range of social change organizations, before founding the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio in Oakland, California, that is dedicated to "serving ...more

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