My favorite books this year have not been books about teaching art to kids, or even books about ART at all. But they are relevant to teachers and parents…. and everyone, really. The three books I’ll be sharing with you are inspiring, life-changing, and important.
The most inspiring book I read this year was A Little Radical – The ABC’s of Activism, by Danica and Jason Russell. As co-founder of the non-profit, Invisible Children, and director of the viral video, “Kony 2012”, Jason Russell (and his wife, Danica) know a thing or two about activism.
In A Little Radical, the Russells define “activism” as “not just for the hippies or the large angry mob”, but for everyone who wants to make the world a better place, kids included. Activism is standing up for what you believe and doing your part. And this unique ABC book filled with colorful collages and written in Dr. Seuss-style rhyme explains how.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter “A”….
“A is for ACTION. It all starts with you. Talk won’t do a thang, without follow-through.
So get off your buns! Don’t be a no-show. Lead by example! Get up and go!
Nothing will change if you just stand still. Come alive! Take action! You can, if you will.”
What I love about this book….
Each letter of the alphabet, along with it’s corresponding collage, fills a double page spread, designed to look like you’re flipping through an artist’s sketchbook. With each reading, you’ll notice new things you didn’t see earlier, like how the background around the “sketchbook” relates to the collage and theme for that letter. So clever!
The verse reads like a Dr. Seuss book…. fun and snappy, full of enthusiasm, and a quick enough read-aloud to enjoy it over and over. The text is typed in all caps, printed out, cut into strips, and placed on each page to give it an informal, quirky style. A Little Radical would be great inspiration for a collaborative class book where each student creates their own page with collage and printed text…. maybe for your school’s next auction project??
I also love this book’s hard cover and the stitched binding that makes the pages lay flat when you open it. Every book with beautiful artwork should have this!
But most of all, I love it’s message. This is a kids’ book that’s not just for kids. The emphasis on its made-by-hand look reinforces the big idea that we can all do things (no matter how small) to create positive change in the world.
We teach Art to help kids become creative thinkers and problem solvers. This book is another tool to help us do just that!
Stay tuned for my pick for “Most Life-Changing” Book of 2017!