[Nonfiction Wednesday] On Allies and Solidarity Among People Of Color

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading theme throughout the year, when we can.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

IntersectionAllies (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi Illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith
Published by: Dottir Press (2019) ISBN: 1948340089 (ISBN13: 9781948340083) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I teach the intersectionality framework to my doctoral students in the university. Hence, I am glad to see that there is a version for young people that has been created to make them understand how “all of the different parts of a person combine to affect their life experiences and personal identity.”

I could appreciate how it must have been challenging to distill such an abstract idea to something that young people can relate to.

While the authors are definitely experts in their own right when it comes to diversity, feminism, social justice – this appears to be their first children’s book publication. It would have been great if they collaborated with children’s book authors who have found tools to navigate complex issues while also engaging the attention of young readers – without necessarily resorting to rhyming text.

I loved how the Foreword and the Afterword emphasized the theme of “making room for all” – it could have been the running theme in the narrative text as well – although I can see why the authors decided to focus more on introducing the group of diverse friends individually.

One thing that makes children’s books work is the repetition and rhythm (that again do not have to be seen through rhyme), thus there could have been a pivot back to the main message of making room for all, which is definitely a concept that young people are able to grasp. That being said, this is a book that I will unreservedly recommend – as there is no picturebook as yet that boldly takes on the challenge of introducing such a complex framework to young children. Here’s to making room for all.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 49 out of target 100

May 25, 2022 at 06:30AM Myra Garces-Bacsal