We are children’s writers and illustrators who are also long-time activists. We come from a variety of backgrounds but all share an interest in exploring how social action and social justice can be a part of children’s literature.
In addition to our editorial team, described below, several guest bloggers contribute to M is for Movement.
I’m a children’s writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My picture books include I Love You for Miles and Miles, illustrated by Mike Yamada (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) and the forthcoming biography, Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Lee & Low Books, 2020). I’ve worked as program coordinator, policy analyst, and organizer for a variety of economic justice organizations. I co-authored a book about social change philanthropy, Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy: The Next Generation (Soft Skull Press, 2006).
In 2012 when I decided I wanted to become a children’s writer, I began blogging about activism in children’s books. This felt like a way to bridge what I had been doing with what I wanted to be doing and to seek out people with similar interests. The writers and illustrators I interviewed were so generous, sharing their stories and offering advice. This experience inspired me to team up with some of them to launch M is for Movement in 2017. (My older posts are available on my author’s site.) These days as I involve my own children in activism, I appreciate the many roles of children’s books. They help prepare us for events, put our actions into context, teach history and values, inspire us, and start discussions. Children’s literature can illuminate pathways toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, and moved to the U.S. in 1988 to study zoology at UC Davis. A couple of decades later, I’m a graphic designer. I’m a founding member of Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio in Oakland that is dedicated to “serving the Movement for social change”. And I’m a children’s book author and illustrator.
I originally just wrote A is for Activist for my son. I thought I was just going to print a couple dozen of then and share them with friends, but it turns out there are a lot more of us out there then I realized. So now it’s a best seller published by Seven Stories Press/Triangle Square and has been translated into multiple languages. Since then I have written (and illustrated) three more books: Counting on Community, My Night in the Planetarium, and The Wedding Portrait—all social social justice-themed children’s books (more on my site here). My main focus on this site it to highlight the visual angle of social justice children’s books. After all, they’re not picture books without pictures.
I was born and raised in Oakland, California, where I’m now raising my kids who are 3rd generation born and raised in Oakland, and 4th generation Oaklanders. Going to working class Oakland public schools in the 1980’s and 1990’s had a big impact on my consciousness and worldview. That experience, and a handful of others as a mixed Asian, Black, white, and Native youth navigating the world are probably what makes me me.
I’ve worked for racial justice nonprofit organizations since 2002. I’ve freelanced and worked independently as a visual artist since before that. My passion for amplifying the beauty and dignity of people of color led me to reclaim a childhood dream to make children’s books. After training and working in publishing, I started Blood Orange Press in 2011. Our first book, Oh, Oh, Baby Boy, was released in 2013.
Managing the tenuous and exhausting balance of working full time, being a mom, and having a small publishing company on the side have led me to slow down, say yes to what really matters, and at least in my mind, be an artist again.
I am the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top, and illustrator of a number of other children’s books, including One of a Kind like me, I am Sausal Creek, A Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday, and I contributed to 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Boy. I was born in Oakland, California and raised all across the Bay Area. I’m a visual artist, father, and a husband who employs the use of illustration, public art, and storytelling to tell tales. These tales manifest in a variety of forms and they reflect my cultural background, dreams, and political / personal beliefs. My motivation to do what I do is to unearth beautiful and un-told stories, to be a positive and nurturing influence on my son, and to honor my ancestors and family who worked so hard for me to be here. I love music, nerdy things, and can get along well with most people. I seek fun, ice cream, and justice.
I’m also a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to Rad Dad, and the founder of Come Bien Books.
Supriya Kelkar was born and raised in the Midwest. She learned Hindi as a child by watching three Bollywood films a week. After college, she realized her lifelong dream of working in the film industry when she got a job as a Bollywood screenwriter. AHIMSA, inspired by her great-grandmother’s role in the Indian freedom movement, is her debut middle-grade novel.
Alli Harper. Alli is the founder of OurShelves, a diverse book subscription service and advocacy effort. Alli founded OurShelves to prove the market demand for LGBTQ+ and other diverse children’s books as a strategy to accelerate change in the picture book industry. She lives in the Portland, Maine area with her wife, Jenn, and daughter, Anna. Stories are at the heart of Alli’s work. As an organizer and then an attorney, Alli supported others in sharing their stories to create individual and policy level change. Alli started sharing her own story when she and Jenn were pregnant with Anna; they wanted their marriage to be recognized. Many people’s stories, over many years, made it so. Now Alli, Jenn and Anna pass their days sharing the great stories of others while creating their own. Again and again in Alli’s life, stories have rendered the impossible very much possible.
Alice Faye Duncan is a school librarian who writes for young readers. Her upcoming picture books include Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop—the 1968 Sanitation Strike (Calkins Creek, August 2018) and A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks (January, 2019). She can be reached at www.alicefayeduncan.com or @AliceFayeDuncan.
Annette Bay Pimentel has lived all over the world with her six children, following their dad while he worked to establish functional justice systems in societies emerging from conflict. Her day-to-day life revolved around neighborhoods, markets, and schools rather than government ministries. Living abroad, she gained a great appreciation for how much individual action matters when societies approach the breaking point. Back in the US now, she writes nonfiction picture books about people from the margins of American history who helped shape the world we live in but who have been largely forgotten. Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans and Helped Cook up the National Park Service won the 2017 Carter G. Woodson Award. Girl Running comes out February 6, 2018.
Emma Otheguy is a children’s book author and historian. Her picture book debut, a biography of famed Cuban poet and independence leader José Martí, titled Martí’s Song for Freedom (Lee & Low Books), received five starred reviews and was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal and the New York Public Library. Otheguy lives in New York City with her husband.
Carole Lindstrom is an Ojibwe/Métis author, who is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians. She writes books for children and young adults. Carole studied writing at The Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators She writes for Benchmark Education, an educational publishing company. Her debut picture book, Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle, based on Métis culture, was published with Pemmican Publishers in 2013. Her poem, Drops of Gratitude, will be included in the anthology, Thank U: Poems of Gratitude, edited by Miranda Paul and Illustrated by Marlena Myles, (Lerner/Millbrook – Fall 2019). She is represented by Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She lives with her family in Maryland. Learn more about her at her website www.carolelindstrom.com.
Rocky Rivera I am an artist, educator and writer from San Francisco who got my rap moniker from the protagonist of Jessica Hagedorn’s book “The Gangster of Love”. I’ve been rapping for over ten years and I received my Journalism degree from San Francisco State University. I use my experience in media and ethnic studies as inspiration for my work. Most recently, I was a youth organizer in non-profit who helped implement alternatives for punitive discipline in Oakland public high schools. My latest album, “Rocky’s Revenge”, was created thanks to a one-year grant from Women’s Audio Mission and is available now for purchase.