Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights

illus. by Jared Andrew Schorr. 48p. glossary. S. & S. Sept. 2018.amp; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534429437.
K-Gr 2—An alphabet book of advocacy-related phrases that misses the mark. Schorr's colorful collage illustrations pop off the page; visually there is much to absorb, but the overall tone of the work is uneven. Various signs and symbols representing specific movements are rarely explained, and nebulous suggestions such as "Be zealous" appear alongside hefty asks like "Pass laws." One of the text's largest oversights is its absence of discussion around institutional and anti-protest violence, particularly as a response to marginalized groups engaging in activism. Crafting a picture book encouraging peaceful protest that includes spreads with numerous people of color, without acknowledging the threat of violence for some regardless of how peaceful their actions, is an unrealistic and unsafe representation of social justice movements past and present. This book attempts to educate while remaining vague and relies on generic platitudes, making it likely that the overall messages will not land. Structurally, the text does not convey an alphabet theme. Each letter is represented by phrases, but the styling is inconsistent—there is no header on the page indicating the featured letter and corresponding keywords are not highlighted, meaning this component is likely to be overlooked by young audiences unless assisted.
VERDICT An ineffectual depiction of peaceful protest with little context or clarity. Librarians should offer Innosanto Nagara's A is for Activist instead.

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