Tag Archives: peaceful activism

Peace, Love, Action!

Written & Illustrated by: Tanya Zabinski

Foreward by: Ani DiFranco

For ages: Middle Grades to read, ages 4 and up to listen.

Language: English

Topics Covered: Social Justice, Activism, Historic Figures, Historic Narratives, POC-Centric Narratives, Global Community, Call to Action, Kindness, Peaceful Activism, Gratitude, Resilience, Social Change.

Summary: For our last day in our Week of Intention we have Peaceful Action.  We found it important to begin and end this week with our central vision and mission for The Tiny Activist: activism.  It’s important for children (and adults!) to have lots of examples and options for how to engage in activism and organizing for causes themselves.

Peace, Love, Action! is an amazing book in a multitude of ways and provides examples of peaceful activism and kindness by the boatload.  Set up like an alphabet book but for middle grades, each letter represents a central theme to the activism of a person being profiled.  Zabinski’s illustrations are gorgeous, resembling (or potentially being) linocuts, one of our favorite artistic styles!

F is for Feed, and the reader learns about Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm (an organization we love!) that centralizes ancestral farming practices to help folks of color reconnect with their past through education as well as growing food for donations to local families.

Something else we really love is after each person profiled, there is a list of things that the reader can do to get involved, whatever their passion may be.  Having a myriad of options and critical self-reflection questions accompanying each letter.  With examples like Pete Seeger, Rachel Carson, Black Elk, and Azim Khamisa every person who picks up this book will become inspired to make the world a little better.

Peace, Love, Action! was kindly sent to us by Parallax Press, but all opinions are our own.

About the Author & Illustrator:

indexFrom Tanya Zabinski’s website: “I was a tomboy. My nickname was Tinkerbell. I liked riding bikes, creek-slogging and playing flute. I liked reading, drawing and making puppet shows. I liked camping with my family. Those likes have never changed. My artwork and stories are rooted in the things I loved in childhood.

In college, I studied art, design, music and philosophy. I went to Buffalo State College, to an exchange program in Japan for a year, and to Parsons School of Design. I L-O-V-E-D college.

Even though I loved art, as I learned of poverty in the world, I felt that being an artist was selfish. How could I justify something so seemingly insignificant as making pictures, when other people can’t eat or have an education? When I was 18, I saw “From Mao to Mozart,” in which the famous violinist, Isaac Stern, visited China. It took place after Mao’s reign of terror, when China first opened its doors to the west. Isaac Stern’s passion for music was clearly visible, as was his ability to share it and coax it out in others. His music became a bridge for peace. By following his passion and sharing it, he was more useful to the world than if he squelched his passion for something more seemingly practical. That became my model. Later, I found this quote from Howard Thurman that encapsulates this view: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

These are things that make me feel alive: nature, the seasons, swinging on swings (or grapevines!), biking, hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing, gardening, watching birds and whales and clouds and my dog’s ears flopping as he walks in front of me, my supportive family, free-thinking people with open hearts, belonging to vibrant communities like Waldorf and Suzuki, yoga, meditation, books, music, cultures, learning about people who buck norms and pioneer their lives being true to an inner wisdom, swimming in the stream of ever-flowing love and funneling those feelings into my life and my art and the world.

Where have all these influences taken me? From working in a library, to waitressing, music-making, organic farm work, teaching, mural-making, becoming a partner in a local artists boutique, meeting my husband, travelling in Mexico, getting married, and having two sons. Today my husband and I have our own company called Planet Love in which we hand print clothing and sell it at art and music festivals, shops and online. We live in the hills south of Buffalo with a furry, black, thick-tailed, big-hearted dog.

Thank you for a heart open to read this. May you gravitate to the things that make you feel alive!”

Rebel Voices: The Global Fight for Women’s Equality and the Right to Vote

Written by: Eve Lloyd Knight

Illustrated by: Louise Kay Stewart 

For ages:  Second grade and above

Language: English

Topics Covered: Feminism, Activism, Women’s Suffrage, Independent Thought, Global Community, Historic Figures, Historic Narratives.

Summary: This book covers the global struggle for women’s suffrage.  Broken down by country, these summaries are accompanied by powerful illustrations of activists and women from these countries.  South Africa (along with several other countries) have separate pages dedicated to when white women and women of color were granted the legislative victory of voting rights.

The book honors the power of women and activism.  Written from a perspective of the voices who struggled and lived in the resistance, each country has a specific activist that is profiled and what she did with others to bring about large scale social change.  Having the book paired in such a way that both uplifts singular activists in conjunction with acknowledging the group struggle is written by the deft hand of Eve Lloyd Knight.  The words are inspiring, empowering, and leave the reader ready to kick down a door and fight The Patriarchy.  In the back included is a timeline of suffrage movements globally.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which activist inspired you the most?
  • How do you think they decided to get involved in activism, and specifically the suffrage movement?
  • How can you carry on the legacy of activism and work on behalf of your community for equality and the liberation of marginalized populations?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • While women can now vote, regardless of race or ethnic background, things are still not equal.  What things can be done in the community you live in to help equity and inclusion of marginalized populations?
  • Look up voting regulations, and learn about how sometimes they are used to keep some populations from voting.  Some of these legal restrictions, known as red lining and gerrymandering (among others) are still being used today.  How can we contact our local governing bodies and let them know these are unfair and racist practices?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

eveEve Lloyd Knight is an Illustrator and artist living in Margate. She loves colour, texture and her work celebrates culture, woman and equality.





louiseLouise Kay Stewart studied women’s writing at university and did a Masters degree in Women and Literature. She co-founded Aurora, a magazine featuring creative writing and illustrations by women. She then became an author, and has written more than 200 books for young people on a wide variety of subjects.

Conflict in Georgia Over Russian Occupation

This is a different sort of post than we usually do, but we felt it was important to share some information that we have been learning about recently. This morning, one of our followers that lives in Georgia reached out to us about things that had been taking place in their city that they felt the world didn’t know about. They explained a bit about the Russian occupation of Georgia and the protests that have been taking place. The featured photo is a screenshot of an article we found helpful, and the link to it is down below after the photos. The following photos were sent to us by our Georgian follower. Apologies for the quality, the photos we got were crystal clear but I can’t seem to make the post photos look as good as the originals. We urge everyone to become educated about the various situations of unrest that are currently happening around the globe, and to stand up for injustice.









Here is the Al Jazeera article mentioned above!

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist

Written by: Cynthia Levinson

Illustrated by: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

For ages: 5 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Historical Figure, Historical Event, Activism, Modern Black Freedom Struggle, Civil Rights, Family, Love.

Summary:  Audrey is a nine-year-old girl, living in Birmingham in 1963.  The book opens with Audrey’s mother cooking a huge dinner for their family friend, Mike.  Mike turns out to be a nickname, and the family friend is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! At the dinner table is talk of desegregation efforts, and Audrey dreams of days when she can shop where she wants, have brand new schoolbooks, and better seats at the movies.  One Sunday, Mike visits their church and tells those crammed into the pews to hear him speak to fill the jails and disobey unjust laws.  Audrey notices that adults don’t step forward, and instead look away embarrassed making excuses for why they couldn’t be arrested.

One night, another family friend named Jim announces a new idea to fill the jails with children rather than adults.  Bravely, Audrey steps forward with other children. She joins the hundreds of others marching but realizes that she is the only protestor from her elementary school and is in fact the youngest person at the march!  Singing freedom songs, the children march and are arrested.  Sentenced to a week in juvenile hall, Audrey comes to find that jail is not glamorous. There aren’t clean clothes and the food is bad.  She is questioned by four white men; the first ones Audrey has ever spoken to! She notices though, that every afternoon more and more children arrive at the jail, some soaking wet from being sprayed with firehoses.  By her fifth day, the jail is full!  The community has fulfilled their goal, and no more children can be arrested.  Two months after Audrey is released, Birmingham completely wipes the segregation laws from their lawbooks.

This book is significant in the way it treats the characters.  Audrey is not seen as exceptional in her actions, only in her age.  The illustrations show careful thought and detail, the background individuals vary in size, shape, wardrobe, and more importantly skin tone.  In the back there is both an author’s note and a timeline of events surrounding the children’s march in Birmingham.  There is also a list of sources, a book recommendation for older readers, and Audrey’s favorite hot buttered roll recipe!  Both author and illustrator are familiar with the struggles of oppression, and one can tell by the way that background characters are treated and illustrated.  The movement is explained as a group effort with many moving pieces rather than Audrey single-handedly bringing about change to Birmingham.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Audrey became so brave?
  • Do you think it would be easier to be in a juvenile detention center with a lot of people you knew?
  • How do you think Audrey was feeling when she realized her actions were creating change for her entire community?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about the Modern Black Freedom Struggle, and how resistance occurred for much longer than just in the typically talked about decade of 1954-1964.  What sorts of happenings in the movement were occurring since the end of the Civil War?
  • Read more about the Birmingham Children’s March, and what it inspired people around the country to do.  What other actions were a direct result, and how were youth vital to the movement’s success?
  • Look at photos or watch some interviews with other individuals who participated.  What can we learn from them, and other activists who came before us?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

cynthialevinsonCynthia Levinson lives in two places with her husband, who is a law professor. Most of the year, they hang out in Austin, Texas. In the fall, they’re in Boston, Massachusetts. Cynthia didn’t always want to become a writer but a college friend always encouraged her. The friend was right but Cynthia had to wait for the right time. Cynthia is awed by writers who also have day jobs and children at home. It was only after her children got through college and paid off those bills that she could take the risk of leaving my job at a state education agency and dip a toe into writing.  She’s written lots of magazine articles for kids about pandemics, about Moko, the mind-body problem, civil rights, and a bunch of other topics. Creativity takes a lot of work. And, frankly, as a nonfiction writer, she self-describes as not all that creative. Like people who can work, raise children, and write, those who can make up stories, settings, characters, and emotional valence astonish Cynthia.

Vanessa-new-225x300Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement, and attended school in Newark, NJ. She was part of a diverse, tight-knit community and learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment at early age.

Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, Vanessa includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants allchildren to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.

​Vanessa celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz. Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art.

The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.


Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights

Written by: Rob Sanders

Illustrated by: Jared Andrew Schorr

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Activism, Peace, Community Involvement, Acceptance, Courage, Protesting.

Summary: This book is an alphabetical look at how to peacefully protest.  Non-traditional in it’s setup, this book offers suggestions about everyday activism one can become involved with, and lets the reader know that there’s more to activism than just marching in the streets.  Educate. Encourage.  Be Fearless.  Have Faith.  Inform. Invite. Join others.  Quietly do what’s right.

With beautiful cut paper collage illustrations, these diverse characters embody what activism is and what it looks like on the ground.  Work for it.  Be nonviolent.  Volunteer.  At the back, there is a history of peaceful protests, detailing the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as some of the most well-known advocates for change, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez.  After that is an extensive glossary which explains over 30 common activist terms such as vigil, assemble, zealous, mediate, and exemplify.  This book is a beautiful representation of what it means to be an advocate and uplift marginalized groups, as well as teach others to do the same.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever heard of an activist?
  • What do you think are the sorts of things that people stand up for?
  • When is a time that you stood up for something that was right, even if you didn’t see others doing so?
  • What is something you care a lot about?
  • How can you inform others about something you feel passionately about?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about an issue that’s important to your community.  How can you be an activist and help create change?
  • As a class, choose a project and write letters to legislators.
  • Make your own paper collage project like the illustrations in the book.  How can you make art with a message, using paper cutouts?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

rob-sanders-67725889Throughout junior high and high school, Rob Sanders had wonderful English teachers who taught him to diagram sentences, speak in public, read the classics, show what he learned in creative ways, and who taught him to write. He wrote letters, poems, stories, plays, radio scripts, and more. Even now those teachers would be considered among the best. He is still reading and writing today. As a matter of fact, every school day he teaches kids about words and books, and stories and writing. Helping his students become strong writers is his favorite thing to do. Now he also writes books. Explore his website and learn all about them!

PortraitJared Andrew Schorr is an illustrator living in Southern California. He specializes in creating detailed work entirely from cut paper. His work has appeared in many publications, as well as in galleries and homes around the world.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Written by: Robbie Robertson

Illustrated by: David Shannon

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Historical Figures, First Nations People, Culture.

Summary: This hefty book catalogues the story of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker as they attempt to unite the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes many years ago in the 14th century.  Hiawatha is a Mohawk man who lost his family and entire village when another tribe attacked-led by Chief Tododaho.  Distressed and enraged, Hiawatha sinks into a depression.  One morning, a mysterious figure in a blinding white carved stone canoe paddle up to the shore near Hiawatha with a message.  This figure has a pronounced speech impediment and wants well-spoken Hiawatha to accompany him to each of the other Iroquois tribes to unite them in hopes of defeating Chief Tododaho.  Hiawatha and the Peacemaker visit the Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, and Mohawk councils to gather allies before confronting Tododaho.  When they reach Tododaho, they find a twisted and miserable beast.  The Peacemaker quickly realizes he is being consumed by evil within and tells Hiawatha how to fix Tododaho a medicine to heal him and expel the evil.  Hiawatha fixes him medicine and the evil is expelled.  As a symbol of peace between nations, the warriors from so many tribes buried their weapons underneath a white pine.

This book has stunning illustrations as well as historical notes in the back of the book.  The retelling of this important story takes place before Europeans were in North America.  In the back of the book, there is also a CD as well as an author’s note about the first time Robbie Robertson experienced a First Nations elder tell a story.  That story was of the Peacemaker and his disciple Hiawatha.

Reflection Questions:

  • How can you resolve conflicts peacefully, like Hiawatha and the Peacemaker?
  • Do you think Hiawatha did the right thing in helping Chief Tododaho get better?
  • When is a time that someone told you a story that changed your life, like the author had at the reservation longhouse with his family.

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn about other peaceful activists like Hiawatha.  What is something they all have in common?  Why is it important to resolve situations with peaceful solutions instead of violence?
  • Consider making a monument to peace in your community or on school grounds.  What message would you like it to portray?  Come together as a classroom, school, or community and make your plan for a symbol of peaceful activism.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

robbie robertsonBorn of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation. Robertson is a Canadian musician, songwriter, film composer, producer, actor, and author. His career spans six decades. He is best known for his work as lead guitarist and primary songwriter for the Band, and for his career as a solo recording artist. His work with the Band was instrumental in creating the Americana music genre. Robertson has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Band, and has been inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame, both with the Band and on his own. He is ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists. As a film soundtrack producer and composer, Robertson is known for his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, which began with the rockumentary film The Last Waltz (1978), and continued through a number of dramatic films, including Raging Bull (1980) and Casino (1995). He has worked on many other soundtracks for film and television.

david shannon

Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with arresting oil paintings. Together, Robertson and Shannon have crafted a new children’s classic that will both educate and inspire readers of all ages.