Category Archives: sound off saturday

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Rashmi Bismark!

Hello everyone!  It’s been such a long time since we had someone to feature for Sound Off Saturday, and we are thrilled for our return post to be author Rashmi Bismark.  You might have heard of Rashmi before when we were part of the cover reveal team for the latest Bharat Babies book, Finding Om!  Hope everyone has some adventures planned for today, and that you find some time for yourselves in this hectic winter season, walking into the world a little calmer.

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

za7vR906_400x400Rashmi Bismark: Hi!  I’m Rashmi. I’m a mom of two little girls and a Preventive Medicine doctor with a clinical focus on teaching mindfulness.  I also teach meditation and contribute curriculum for Yoga Medicine by Tiffany Cruikshank. Additionally, I’m what is called a “trailing spouse” in the expatriate world, meaning I follow my husband’s career around the world.  We’ve lived across the globe from Asia to Europe, the US to the UK. Right now we are based on a small island off the coast of France in the English Channel called Jersey.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

RB: My family, tasty veggies, dark chocolate, exercise, sleep/rest, and yoga!  Yoga for me is a physical practice and so much more. It’s a philosophy that infuses the culture of my ancestors.  It’s seeking, uncovering, and honoring connections to myself and life around me in the service of love, harmony, and humanity.  So for me in the world of healthcare, it’s helping patients and fellow physicians find ways of recognizing their wholeness and remembering wise resources from within to support health and healing.  With my writing, it’s inspiring this spirit of self-inquiry and awareness for kids. As the mom in a rather nomadic family, it’s helping our multicultural, inter-faith kids balance and celebrate our backgrounds while getting curious about the people and lands we get to live in.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on! 7135814

RB: Well, of course all the fun around Finding Om! This book feels important for a number of reasons. It speaks to rediscovering those places of peaceful centering and wakeful aliveness from within that are so important for nurturing wellness – whether you are three years old or ninety-nine. These places are our deepest ways of knowing and being with ourselves and the world around us. We sense into them whenever we are resting within our innately present awareness. Mindfulness is the wise remembrance of this caring awareness, and yoga encompasses all the ways of connecting with it.

It is a gift to be able to nurture a relationship with this shared human capacity for inner friendship and peace, because doing so in many ways can be an act of revolution in itself. Our lives can be so full of activity that taking some time out to intentionally attend to the breath, for example, can be enough of a disruption to help us feel more grounded. Mainstream mindfulness and yoga shine light on activities of the body, breath, heart, and mind, helping us to connect with that enduring sense of wellbeing available right here. These same threads of wisdom can be found in traditions from across the world.

Finding Om shares the way that Anu, a little girl of Indian and African heritage, connects to her strengths of presence and awareness through an exploration of the mantra OM with her beloved grandfather, Appuppa. While this is a story about her uncovering various aspects of mindfulness and meditation, it is also a story about her uncovering a connection to a practice embedded within one part of her cultural roots. It is Anu learning about an iconic mantra that is held with deep respect by various dharmic traditions across South Asia. It is her connecting with her Indian-America grandfather, feeling inspired by his rituals, and getting curious enough to explore them a bit on her own to see what it’s all about. It is an authentic exploration of the living cultural expressions of yoga within the South Asian diaspora.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

RB: Please consider purchasing this book, and any other books by Bharat Babies! Diverse books by indie publishers can use all the love and support they can get to increase visibility and longevity of their stories. Please feel free to share far and wide. Not only do children in the South Asian diaspora deserve to see themselves reflected in a story, but all kids deserve to share in the diverse experiences of their peers. This is how we learn about others to build empathy and understanding across communities.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

RB: We have had many favorites this year.  I Am Love by Susan Verde sits very close to our hearts, as does Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o.  Sulwe tackles colorism which is something that crosses all communities, and it hurts.  Illustrated by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe’s journey of connecting to her truest inner beauty is radiant.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

FindingOm_smaller-600x600RB: Definitely the launch of Finding Om!  Since this world of kids lit is completely new to me, I am just loving every fresh experience.  I absolutely cannot wait to share this book with kids and hear their reflections. Children are so wise and insightful.  I’m eagerly anticipating all the things they are going to teach me about finding their own connections to peace and aliveness within. My heart is bursting right now just thinking about it!  Yoga practices like meditation and inquiry can be much more than tools or techniques for managing thoughts and difficult emotions. These are also daily opportunities for fostering a sacred relationship to one’s self and life experience purely for the beauty and joy of it. Looking forward to celebrating it all.

Stay Connected With Rashmi!

Website

Instagram

Yoga Medicine Curriculum

Q&A with Alastair Moock!

Happy Saturday!  Our Week of Music is continuing to rock, and we’ve boogied through a whole week already!  Luckily, we have one more special music-related book to review for tomorrow.  But, let’s focus on today!  Yesterday we learned a bit about Alastair’s music, so today we’ll learn about him!  Hope everyone is having a great day, and keep on rockin’ 🙂

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Photo by Michael D. Spencer

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself!

Alastair Moock: I’m Alastair Moock. Among other things, I perform for kids and families and also present assembly programs and workshops in schools around social justice history.

 

 

TTA: What are you passionate about?

AM: Educating and inspiring through music.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

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Billie Jean King

AM: I’m currently working on an album all about leadership and activism. It looks to the
heroes of our past (Dr. King, Harvey Milk, Billie Jean King, Pete Seeger, Rosa Parks,
Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez) and our present (Malala Yousafzai, the Parkland student
protestors) to inspire our kids to move the ball forward. I wrote the songs over the past year, and we begin recording at the beginning of October.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

AM: I’ll be doing a fundraising campaign for this album, my first in many years. I don’t
generally ask fans for money up front like this, but I have a good reason this time: I want
to get this album, and my assembly programs, into the hands of kids and schools that
might not otherwise be able to afford them. Through this campaign, every time a
supporter buys a CD, I’ll give one away to a kid or teacher. I’ll also be providing free
assemblies and programs to Head Start programs and underserved schools.

7109Acm8ueLTTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

AM: Right now I’m digging Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

AM: Recording this new album!

 

About the Artist:

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Alastair Moock is a 2014 GRAMMY Nominee, two-time Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Winner, recipient of the ASCAP Joe Raposo Children’s Music Award, and has twice been voted by the Fids & Kamily Industry Critics’ Poll among the Top 3 Albums of the Year. Long one of Boston’s premier folk artists, Alastair turned his attention to family music after the birth of his twins in 2006. The New York Times calls him “a Tom Waits for kids” and The Boston Globe declares that, “in the footsteps of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, Alastair Moock makes real kids music that parents can actually enjoy.” Moock and Friends’ live shows are rowdy, rootsy, singin’ and dancin’ fun for the whole family!

Q&A with the Alphabet Rockers

Happy Tuesday!  We typically would wait until Saturday to do Q&A’s but during our Week of Music anything can happen!  Can you tell just how exciting our lives are? Anyways, jokes about our thrilling lives aside, we are more than excited to be able to bring you more information about The Alphabet Rockers.  This dynamic duo is the driving force behind a myriad of great music and social justice action.  Hope you enjoy our chat as much as we did!

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

AboutAlphabetRockers-PhotobyKristin-Chalmers
Photo by Kristin Chalmers

Alphabet Rockers: We are cofounders – Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Soulati Shepherd – and we’ve been making hip hop as an Alphabet Rockers crew since 2007. Coming together in Oakland at that time, we were excited to make fun music for young families that enhanced learning but we’ve grown with the times. The learning we lift up in our music is no longer ABC’s and tying shoes- it’s gender justice for trans and non-binary kids, it’s Black liberation and joy, it’s the beauty of migration and welcoming immigrants…it’s a world where we can all be free. We bring this music to 50 schools across the country each year, to libraries and to big stages like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in DC and the Kennedy Center in NYC.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

AR: Creating a world free from racial and gender bias. Youth activism. And hip hop.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!iconsquare39029970-C4E0-4666-81EEBD46B0F69D49

AR: Right now, it’s all about The Love. Our new album is currently on the GRAMMY ballot (keeping fingers crossed for a second nomination), and we have big shows lined up to premiere the album including the Oakland Life is Living Festival and SF Jazz this fall. After a year bringing together almost 60 guests artists and centering representational LGBTQ+ voices, we can’t wait to give it all away. We say “The Love is for You” because this album lifts up so many perspectives. Whether you are listening as an ally, a trans child, a queer artist or a two-spirit activist waiting to hear your native land honored, we’ve got you. YOU are the love.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 9.44.50 AMAR: Subscribe to our So Get Me podcast for families making change. Listen to it anywhere you get your podcasts and you’ll hear our young Rockers share their activism- like The Butterfly Effect project lead by Lily (10) and Kaia (11). They have rallied folks to make and display 15,000 butterflies to symbolize each child being held in a detention center at the border. You can hear them on our podcast along with activist authors Kate Schatz and Innosanto Nagara who are both fans of our music. Also, download The Love. Really listen. Let it move you into action.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?81fUyRgp9LL

AR: We got a sneak peek of Innosanto Nagara’s M is for Movement that comes out
November 2019 and we LOVED it! Wait ’til you see the gorgeous artwork and dig into
the story of one child born at the rise of a movement.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

AR: This year we welcome a new baby into the Rocker family (Kaitlin just had her second!) so that’s a huge bright spot- reminding us what all this is for and expanding our crew. Also making room for our young rockstars to shine on stage- Lil’ Tommy (11), Kali (11), Maia (10) and Lily (10) are bringing their voices, ideas and spirits forward more everyday. Just looking forward to bringing our art to the world during this particular time in history. When they throw shade…we throw shine.

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Photo By Steve Jennings

Current badass work The Alphabet Rockers

are doing with other groups:

On Saturday, November 16th from 3-4pm at Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, The Butterfly Effect will host a rally featuring youth speakers and performances by the Grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers, and Destiny Arts Center youth. Nancy Ukai, a Japanese American whose family are internment camp survivors and who is an activist with Tsuru for Solidarity, will also speak at the event. On display will be 15,000 butterflies created by the community as a sign of friendship and support to the children in detention. 

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To join the effort, and for more information about The Butterfly Effect,

visit https://butterflyeffectmigration.org

Youth are available for interviews.

2019b- Alphabet Rockers Creators - Photo by Kristin Chalmers
Photo by Kristin Chalmers

Stay connected with The Alphabet Rockers!

Alphabet Rockers Website

Instagram: @alphabetrockers #TheLOVE

Sound Off Saturday featuring: Parakeet Books!

Happy Saturday!  We are super jazzed to feature a great publisher that we’re totally in love with: UK-based Parakeet Books!  It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to feature someone for Sound Off Saturday, and these are the perfect humans to start the series back up again with.  Hope everyone is having a good day, and that you are able to take a look at the literature-world-shaking that these two powerhouses are up to 🙂

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organisation!

IMG_6969Parakeet Books: Hello! We are Sheju John and Judy Skidmore of Parakeet Books. All our books are diverse and inclusive, all our books are feature stories. We write children’s tales and adventures where the main characters are people of colour, or they have disabilities, or girls are the heroes, or they feature LGBTQ+ families. We’ve both worked in other industries for a while and after we had our children (now 2 aged and 5) we really wanted to make diverse books for them that reflect the world around them. The more we searched in the book shops, online and in the library, the more we found that diverse books featuring people with black and brown skin just aren’t there. So we make our own and we decided to bring in us much diversity as we can – starting with us.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

socialPK: Equality. We always knew we wanted to be part of positive change. We recycle and do our best for society and the planet. Then we had kids and this publishing company just … popped out of us! We are the only publishing company that pledge to create 100% diverse and inclusive books. So far our books feature main characters who are people of colour, girls as heroes, gender neutral characters, and LGBTQ+ families. In the pipeline we are creating books with main characters with differing abilities or disabilities. And crucially. The books are good! They focus on rip-roaring tales, and cosy family adventures for all children. We also showcase other authors and illustrators making diverse books so if people are looking for recommendations they might want to head over to our insta feed.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

_DSC4035PK: We just finished a collaboration with a local primary school to create an alphabet book made entirely from the school children’s work. It is a sideways take on the usual ABC book with stories, poems, tongue twisters and drawings all inspired by the letters of the alphabet. The children’s creativity and innovation have blown us away. It is a joyful, proud and touching book.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

5-6PK: Buy our books for your family and friends and share our posts on social media. Join our No Outsiders campaign to get LGBT families represented in every school room. Leave reviews on Amazon. Aaaand if you are a book publicist or book distributer and like what we do, please get in touch because we are ready to for distribution.

TTA: What book was your favourite in 2019 so far?

PK: We’re in love with Swami on Rye. We liked the look of it and Sheju’s oldest friend is called Swami! The hero, Max goes off on a wild search for the meaning of life that takes him to India, where he visits the Temple of Doubletalk, meets a chatty guru named Vivek Shabaza-zaza-za, and has other adventures. It is totally surreal. And we’re cheating because it turns out this books came out in 1995 – but it only came to us in 2019! We also bought Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys – it is sumptuous to look at and moving to read. The book features all different kinds of families and we got it from London’s only gay Book Shop – Gay’s the Word. Gay’s the Word also stock our book, Eve’s New Brother, which makes us wildly proud.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

IMG_4072PK: Making another book, collaborating with  schools and children – they have the best ideas, it’s a blast.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay connected with Parakeet Books!

Featuring: Anastasia Kanavaliuk

Helloooooo lovely humans!  Here is our third and final installment of our trio of posts surrounding the fantastic creative team behind Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question!  We were able to catch up with Anastasia Kanavaliuk, the talented illustrator behind Aviva’s Book.  If you haven’t seen our interview with Aviva, you can find that here, and if you haven’t yet read our review of Ezra you can catch that one here!  We hope everyone is enjoying the day, and aren’t getting into too many shenanigans (but we should always be getting into a few 😉 ).

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The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

Anastasia Kanavaliuk: My name is Anastasia. I am a freelance illustrator. I mainly work on illustrations for children’s books. Sometimes I create personal illustrations of families and couples that people order for their loved ones.

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TTA: What are you passionate about?

AK: My biggest hobby is illustration (of course). I draw not only for work, but also for myself. I also really like books, especially paper ones. Reading a paper book is a very pleasant pastime for me.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

AK: I am currently working on a package of illustrations for sale. I plan to create illustration packages on various topics. This will be useful for designers and just people who want to get original posters for their apartment or arrange wedding invitations, for example. There are a lot of opportunities.Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 4.52.19 PM

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

AK: Every creator, whether an author, illustrator or musician, wants his work to be seen. I share my illustrations on my Instagram page, and I am very pleased to receive feedback on what I am doing, various questions and tips. This is the best support.

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TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

AK: My favorite book that I worked on in 2019 is Aviva Brown’s book, Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question. Together we put a lot of time and effort into it. And the result is amazing. And if we are talking about a booScreen Shot 2019-08-30 at 5.05.14 PMk I read, then it is Five Feet Apart. I’m just in love.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

AK: I can have a lot of plans, but everything changes so quickly that it makes no sense. I meet new interesting people, get cool projects and everything is going better than I expected. I just want to keep doing my job and getting better.


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Stay Connected with Anastasia!

You can find her on instagram: @ealince

and at her online portfolio!

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Aviva Brown!

Happy Saturday!  We are SO EXCITED to be able to feature this powerhouse, Aviva Brown!  Aviva is one of the first people we “met” on Instagram when we started our account, and we’ve been keeping in regular contact ever since.  Aviva is knowledgable, funny, and definitely not afraid to laugh at herself as she shares funny life situations on her entertaining Instagram stories.  We are thrilled that she was able to publish her first book at the end of July, and see a shining bright future for her!  We hope you enjoy reading this interview, but make sure that after you’re done you go outside and enjoy some of this end of summer warm weather.

This is actually the first of 3 posts around Aviva and her new book!  Our next book review post on Tuesday is Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question, and for our next Sound Off Saturday post, we were able to interview Aviva’s talented illustrator Anastasia!  Whew, we have to go lie in a hammock for a bit, it’s getting too exciting around here 😉  Tiny Activists, out!

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

IMG_3930Aviva Brown: Hey, peeps!  I’m Aviva Brown and I self-publish children’s picture books about Jewish kids of Color.  I’ve been married to my incredible spouse for 12 years and we have four amazing children that get on our nerves, cover us in kisses, and make our lives…unpredictable.  My oldest child is 11 and my youngest turns 1 in September. My children and I converted to Judaism in 2017, and my husband just finished his conversion in August 2019.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

AB: I’m passionate about so many things that I burned out on activism because I tried to do every. single. thing.  These days I’ve limited my focus to two areas–finding, reading, reviewing, and creating books about diverse populations, and working on immigration issues.  

I’m currently the chair of my synagogue’s Immigration Sub-Committee.  We’ve held an ID drive for undocumented immigrants, which many businesses and the police department in our small city will recognize as legitimate identification.  We partnered with a mostly Latinx Christian congregation for a program called Stranger 2 Neighbor, where we met several times in Fall 2018 to exchange information about our different cultures.  It went so well, we’ve kept in touch and are planning a community service project this fall.

imagesWe also maintain an Immigration Relief Fund, which congregants donate to, and partner with a local organization, Faith Action International House, to provide monetary relief to families who have had family members detained by ICE.  We’re also currently planning a trip this winter to Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

81WeUn5RNjLAB: My first picture book, Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question, was just released July 30th, so I’m currently working on getting it on peoples’ radar and selling it.  I’ve also started work on my second book, Ora: Summer Camp Stowaway, already.  My goal is to release it in spring 2020.  I’m really excited to bring stories about Jews of Color to the children’s market.  Kids need to see themselves in books so that they know they matter. That’s my mission.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

AB: The easiest way to support my journey would be to purchase copies of my book. Ha!  However, I know that’s not possible for everyone. If you know someone who might be interested, though, tell them.  Follow my social media accounts and help me build an audience of like-minded parents, grandparents, and educators who understand how important diversity is in kids books.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

91GKSSOobOLAB: My favorite children’s book this year is Lubna and Pebble.  It’s about a little girl who lives in a refugee tent city where her pebble is her only friend.  She eventually makes a human friend, and when it is time for her family to leave, she leaves Pebble with him.  Such a sweet story.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in The coming year?

AB: If I can pull it off, I hope to release two books in 2020, and mentor other self-publishing authors.  There were so many things I had to spend hours researching or learn on the fly.  If I can save another writer that research time, hopefully more people will add their voices and stories to the kidlit world.  We need them!

Keep Connected with Aviva!

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Taylor Moxey!

Happy Saturday!  We are thrilled this week to feature Taylor, a young activist, entrepreneur and chef.  As older (thirties totally aren’t old, but we’re not teenagers like Taylor!) people, it’s inspiring to see young people with as much drive and passion as Taylor.  Be sure to check out all the cool stuff she’s up to, links are at the end of the interview as always! Have a great weekend everyone, and go get into some summertime shenanigans!

The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

Taylor Moxey: My name is Taylor Moxey. I am an internationally known entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. At eight-years old, I turned a forty-dollar loan from my parents into a growing enterprise: Taylor Moxey, LLC.

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 9.54.38 PMMy legacy began with the start-up of my cupcake company: ‘Taylor the Chef’. The success of my cupcake company inspired me to write my best-selling book The Adventures of Taylor the Chef. As I continue to develop my personal brand, I wanted to inspire and motivate others. My desire to inspire led me to create a collection of daily mantra cards called ‘Moxivation’, which ultimately led me to launch the ‘Taylor Moxey Foundation’.

The ‘Taylor Moxey Foundation’ is my standing commitment to fulfill my mission to Educate, Empower and Encourage literacy and community service for people world wide. As I continue to evolve and live life limitlessly, I hope to inspire others to do the same.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

TM: I am passionate about my business, literacy, the arts and encouraging young people and adults to become excited about going out and achieving their dreams.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 9.52.05 PM

TM: My current project I’m working on is my 5th Taylor Moxey Library which is scheduled to open by December 2019. As you know, my Taylor Moxey Foundation converts recycled shipping containers into mobile libraries. For 2020 we are scheduled to open libraries in Haiti, Mexico, Columbia and El Salvador.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

TM: People can support my journey by doing three things. Donating monetarily to assist us in building more amazing libraries, donating books and toys and volunteering their time with the Taylor Moxey Foundation.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

40662843_000_bTM: My favorite book for 2019 so far is Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, a book of self care poems. I have quotes from this book plastered all over my bedroom wall. Lol.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the next year?

TM: What I am looking forward to in 2020 is to continue to grow and evolve as a person, dancer and business woman. I am also looking forward to seeing my Taylor “The Chef” Cupcake Poppers being sold in stores locally and nationally next year.

 


Stay Connected with Taylor!

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Learn more about Taylor

Taylor’s Instagram

Taylor’s Website

The Taylor Moxey Foundation Website

The Taylor Moxey Foundation Instagram

Shop Taylor’s Website!