Peace, Love, Action: Everyday Acts of Goodness From A to Z by Tanya Zabinski, Foreword by Ani DiFranco
Peace, Love, Action: Everyday Acts of Goodness From A to Z
written & illustrated by Tanya Zabinski
Foreword by Ani DiFranco
Published by Plum Blossom Books
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Peace, Love, Action: Everyday Acts of Goodness from A to Z is an essential book for young (and old) for so many reasons. Zabinski's thoughtful organization of ideas, careful selection of activists to introduce readers to and "What You Can Do" page that follows each biography, along with her bold, block print illustrations and portraits, are engaging, accessible and, most of all, inspirational.
In her introduction, "What Is a Peaceful Activist," Zabinski uses quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi to unpack her definition, writing, "Peaceful activism is not only what we do; it's also how we do it." Choosing love over fear, peaceful activism is about, "doing what we have the power to do. It involves inner work and outer work. It's personal and communal. . . A peaceful activist needs both inspiration and action." Zabinski's book delivers inspirational encouragement through both her biographies of peaceful activists and her "What You Can Do" pages that also include "Did You Know" paragraphs that give an extra serving of information about the featured peaceful activist and/or what they are advocating for.
While I would love to share everything I learned about all twenty-six amazing and inspirational peaceful activists, Zabinski's choice to feature Colin Kaepernick (K is for Kneel) is timely and potent, especially considering that this book, published in 2019, was probably written in 2018. I have only come across on other children's book, Enough is Enough! 20 Protesters Who Changed America, featuring Kaepernick. Sharing his story, the evolution of his peaceful protest from sitting to kneeling (after talking to Army veteran and former Seattle Seahawks player Nate Boyer) Zabinski makes clear to readers that Kaepernick, "paid a heavy price for his protest," but continues is social action "off the field," making "powerful institutions like the NFL and the White House ask important questions about patriotism, racial equality, free speech, and protest itself." And, if this is still hazy for young readers, Zabinski, in her "What You Can Do," asks, among other important questions, "Can you be respectful and critical at the same time?" as well as inviting readers to list at least three things they love about their country and "at least three improvements that you would like to see made in your country."
Back matter includes excellent resources, websites and more, with at least three, but usually more, resources for all twenty-six peaceful activists. Books, movies, song books, apps and, of course, websites invite readers to self-educate and explore more. From a racial equity resource guide to the Laughter Yoga Institute to a website that shows you how to make a family cookbook, Zabinski's resources are every bit as educational and inspirational as the 119 pages that come before.