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 first picture book, I Love You for Miles and Miles, illustrated by Mike Yamada, releases from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in December 2017. I have a master’s degree in regional planning and I’ve worked as program coordinator, policy analyst, and organizer for a variety of economic justice organizations. I’m also the author of a book on social change philanthropy, Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy: The Next Generation, published by Soft Skull Press in 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 can 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 multiracial 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 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, and A Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday. 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.