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A is for Activist Hardcover – November 10, 2016
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“Reading it is almost like reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, but for two-year olds—full of pictures and rhymes and a little cat to find on every page that will delight the curious toddler and parents alike.” —Occupy Wall Street
"Full of wit, beauty, and fun, we can think of no better way to learn the alphabet." —Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis, author of The Shock Doctrine /filmmaker
"Fun, funny, exquisitely illustrated and brilliantly written with a message that is sure to resonate with kids. May a thousand young activists bloom!" —Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Global Exchange and Code Pink
"I wish this beautiful and inspiring book was around when my daughter was young, but fortunately there were plenty of cool children around today who will devour what Inno is serving up!" —Dan Zanes, Grammy Award-winning artist of Catch that Train!
"The alliteration and rhymes have the rhythm and fun of standard ABC books, burrowing into little ears and prompting memorization and spontaneous recitation." —YES! Magazine
"A is for Activist 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." —Rona Renner, RN, parent educator, and host of Childhood Matters radio show
"A is for Activist speaks to the possibilities of change, of proactive parenting, of creating community, and of celebrating our collective histories. This book is rad!" —Tomas Moniz, writer/editor Rad Dad, a zine on radical parenting
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The book's layout is an attempt to present a method of learning the alphabet for whom we must assume to be children. Each page is dedicated to a single letter such as “A is for…” as the title implies and goes all the way to the letter “Z”. By the letter “B” the book is already advocating the destruction of other people’s property, by suggesting an ‘activist’ (defined on the letter “A” page) when disagreeing with someone’s private practices is entitled to stop their business and force them to listen. The picture depicts a banner hung from what looks to be a crane. It is highly doubtful that the so-called activist will purchase (or rent) an expensive piece of building equipment just to hang a homemade banner from. Yet, to show the absence of a logical reason based epistemology, the letter “C” indicates it means to cooperate. Within three pages of this so-called educational book, it has already proved it is not based on a metaphysics of reality, but dances inside Kant’s phenomenal world, where only emotions are moral truth. Only Kant and through Hegel, are emotions a measure of reality. No metaphysics worth its salt would leave reality out of the equation with trying to determine what is real.
The book is rife with anti-human ideals; such as political dominance by a perceived idea of majority (D is for) even when no such majority actually exists; notion of equal rights (E is for) except when someone else’s idea of rights is opposite to your own (B is for, M is for, N is for, O is for, P is for, and Z is for).
What is missing from the book? F is for Freedom, an axiomatic notion: the a priori value of self and the right to own all of your own ideas: even those opposed by others. H is for Humanism, the love of humanity even when it is different from your own. L is for Liberty, the authority over your ideas, even if they fall outside the perception of a thing calling itself a majority.
And most of all it is missing:
A is for anarchy: which is from the greek, composed of two words: “an” meaning without and “arkhos” meaning ruler; no rulers only the self. A book about activism is no book at all unless it stems from the center of the soul of the writer. Real activism comes from their own atmosphere and loves others regardless of their views. Activism is humanism, not the advocation of theft, violence, and destruction of other people’s liberty.
This book is not a children’s book, it is propaganda with a tone of force on others. As is clear with the tone, voice, and words for the letter O that suggests when others impose systems that you disagree with that it is okay to agitate and organize. There is nothing individual or in the nature of being human in that statement. The title should have been "A is for absolutism, it is our way or else"
To close, A is for activist is a philosophical work in the vain of Saul Alinsky and all anti-natural, anti-humanist communists. This book should be added to your library to help teach your children. It can be used to show them how propaganda is not education, it is not critical thinking and it is not, most importantly, about self-responsibility and the natural rights of men.
Many large buzzwords are used that will thrill and excite the reader, but young listeners will be lost. There are no explanations for the long strings of words far beyond the preschool comprehension.
It’s a lovely message that should have perhaps been formatted and presented for a older age group with a more sophisticated sense of right and wrong.
I must say I much prefer Counting on Community and the way it normalized proactive steps and highlights the good.
Why, you may ask, and rightly so. Questioning everything is always a good thing, but only to establish the facts of a case, what is true, what is not, what to do about it (if anything), and so on.
For toddlers, though, these ideas far too big and advanced to understand, as are many of the concepts in this book. Which is why it is nothing but propaganda.
If you get kids small enough reciting words and phrases like activist, corporate vultures, megaphones, marching, organize, you get kids with cemented thinking and nothing else. They will be less likely, not more, to decide things for themselves, to determine the course of their lives, to think and respond accordingly.
All of which, I suppose, is the reason to start the propaganda push before kids can even ride a bicycle.
Cement their minds into a rigid position that disables their abilities to think for themselves for a long long time, and maybe forever. That's what totalitarian societies do. Parents and teachers in free societies should not. Unlike kids in totalitarian societies, children in democracies have the right to learn everything and anything they'd like.
Toddler books should be about concrete things and simple concepts, not concrete philosophical ideas that would take at least a high school reading level to understand even minimally.
It's downright depressing but this book is intended to produce kids to spout off slogans rather than teach them to consider each thing and idea on its own merits or show that life is wonderful because of what we make of it.
This is the kind of thing one might have found in the former Soviet Union. It's for you if you want to produce a rubber-stamped, brainwashed kid unable to think for him or herself, and to start extra early.
But if you want to help you kids analyze things now and forever, I would tear this book in bits and throw its pages in the nearest paper recycling bin.
When your kids are old enough, in other words, not when they are still toddlers, teach them that A is for Analyze.
Top international reviews
Personally I like the book, as does my 4 year old daughter, It can be read on a few levels and is nicely interactive. My aim is to try and raise a well rounded, open minded person who can think for themselves and books like these are a useful way to introduce big ideas in a simple way, great for starting conversations. Other reviewers have used words like "preachy" and "indoctrination" to describe this book. Well i would argue that as much as any single children's book can be indoctrinating i would much rather a book that tries to install ideas of an inclusive world than reading my daughter asinine books that teach her that all she can aspire be are imaginary roles such as princess or fairy, who of cause are all pretty. pointless and powerless and who,s only hope in life is to be rescued by some prince or other.
The writing is awful and preachy, some of the letters are absolute b******s - T isn’t for trees, oh no it’s a new “truth”. Waste of money. Take your kids to a protest instead!