Written by: Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi
Illustrated by: Ashley Seil Smith
For ages: 6 years and up
Topics Covered: Intersectionality (as you may have already guessed), diversity, solidarity, activism, identity, activism, disability, protest.
This book is incredible! Written in an accessible way, the reader is introduced to a group of friends that have unique intersections of identity without it feeling like they were manifested to teach us a lesson about diversity. There is not only a forward by Kimberlé Crenshaw herself (who coined the term ‘intersectionality’) but a letter to grownups about how to introduce concepts to kids like empathy. Having this book address presumably the adult reader of the book prepares them for how to talk in-depth about the topics within the book, and frame them in a helpful way for the younger readers/listeners. The letter emphasizes the importance of teaching solidarity and intersectionality to children from a young age, which is something we couldn’t agree more with.
When reading the story, we meet characters like Allie, the basketball fiend who also uses a wheelchair, and Kate who is non-binary and likes to wear a cape. Adilah is an avid dancer and hijabi, taking ballet classes with some of her friends. Nia participates in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the reader learns about protesting. The kids featured in the book are dynamic and friendly, with bilingual identities reflected as well.
In the back are more resources and a vocabulary guide that mentions specific page numbers, giving valuable and robust information for further discussion. It is refreshing to have such care taken, thoroughly underscoring the learning that this book provides for all who open its covers. We cannot say enough good things about it, this book should have a space on every bookshelf and it’s praise shouted from the rooftops.
There is a discussion guide about the book available on the Dottir Press website.
About the Authors & the Illustrator In their Own Words:
“As a kid, I was often the only Black girl in my classrooms. Growing up as an “outsider within” my mostly white schools piqued my interest in how race, class, and gender shape social life. I gained the tools to understand my experiences as an undergraduate at Spelman College, an Historically Black College for women in Atlanta, Georgia. It was at Spelman that I became a feminist. I went on to earn a PhD in sociology at the University of Southern California. My dissertation explored how fashion, politics, and culture relate. I traveled around the world, interviewing women with African roots in South Africa, Brazil, The Netherlands, France, Spain, and the United States about their lives. I now use research to help companies design products with underrepresented groups in mind. When I’m not researching or writing, I enjoy watercolor painting, reading fiction, and eating my way through new cities.”
“I was raised in a single-parent mother-headed home. I would often stare at my mother in awe of her super-shero abilities to manage so many family demands while holding multiple jobs to make ends meet. These memories inspired my vision for a more inclusive world and drove me toward studying sociology at Spelman College, where I first learned about the concept of intersectionality. After graduating from Spelman, I studied the inequalities in love and how race, gender, and class intersect to inform relationship experiences for my master’s at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. I am currently working on my dissertation at the University of Southern California, which examines time use and self-care among Black middle-class couples. Intersectionality and the power of love frame how I do allyship and research. When not researching, I enjoy practicing meditation, cooking, and hanging with my cat Mimi.”
“The Los Angeles Riots were a defining moment in my childhood that shaped my identity as a person of color and brought me to feminism later in life. My interests in gender, culture, and immigration led me to study sociology and Korean literature at UCLA. After graduating from college, I began community-based organizing and advocacy work as an intern at Koreatown Immigrant Workers’ Alliance, a non-profit civil rights organization in Los Angeles. I earned my master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009. A few years later, I began doctoral study in sociology at the University of Southern California. My research tackles issues around migrant labor, human trafficking, and international education and has taken me across the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. In my spare time, I enjoy spreading greater awareness about the Korean arts through performing pansori, a form of traditional folk music.”
“I grew up one of five girls (and a twin!) in Southern California and Texas. My conservative roots prompted questions about privilege and feminism, which led me to study cultural anthropology as an undergraduate, including ethnographic research on women’s health in South India. I eventually moved to New York City and helped launch The Period Store as a vehicle to educate women about all of their options for period management, while also earning my MFA from the School of Visual Arts. When I’m not drawing, painting, or print making, you can find me outside being active or caring for my menagerie of adopted senior animals with the help of my husband, Nate.”