Baby book club: A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

Welcome to another baby book club! This month baby librarians Tilly and Marian discuss the politically-minded alphabet board book A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara.

Tilly: Hi Marian! Mummy and I read this tonight as one of our bedtime books (she said she was going to make a rule that we can only have three bedtime books but last night I just kept bringing books to her and we read seven. I find this to be a highly effective technique. Mummy never denies me books). Do you read books at bedtime? How many do you get?

Marian: I read books all day long, and at night. We don’t have any rules about it, but if we did, I wouldn’t listen to them, and I’d definitely break them like you. Who ever heard of a book limit? Sheesh, these parents. We’ve had this book and Counting on Community for a while. I can tell they go together because they have similar art. I like this one better because the cover is bright orange.

Tilly: What did you think of this book? I thought it was okay. In all of my months of reading experience, I find that alphabet books aren’t really very good for reading aloud. They usually don’t have good plots or characters or good animals. Have you found that? Do you have a favourite alphabet book?

Marian: My favorite alphabet book is Big Bird’s First Book of Letters. I LOVE that one. If I had to pick a second favorite, this would be my pick. I do see what you mean about alphabet books in general though. They’re not very interesting. I like the alphabet song and can sing ABC, but none of them are songs like that. What did you like most about this book?

Tilly: This book did have rhymes, so I liked that. It’s better than a bunch of my other alphabet books in that way. I don’t really like the rhymes much though. They don’t sound as good as the words in my other favourite books, like This and That. But Mummy said that the book is full of concepts that are important and that I’ll understand when I get older. Like democracy, where everyone gets a say. That’s silly. In our house, my say is the only one that really matters.

Marian: YES. Mommy explained that one too, and all I can say is T is for Tyrant, and that’s me. Totally a tyrant today and always. I tried to make that sound good, can you tell? My mommy also wanted to explain big concepts to me, like LGBTQ families. She says everyone and anyone can be a family as long as they love one another. My stuffed fawn is part of our family now because I love her so much. I’m also an activist–the A word–because I stand up for my rights, even when Mommy and Daddy say no. I hope you do the same, and then we can be activists together.

Tilly: Definitely. I stand up very loudly for my rights. Like my right to not be buckled into the car seat. I’m very loud about that right. My favourite part of the book is the cat that’s on all the pages. I like animals. I can do lots of good animal noises now, like dogs and cows and frogs and horses and cats and ducks and sheep. The best books have lots of animals so I can read aloud. Do you have a favourite animal? Did you like the cat in this book?

Marian: I loved the cat! Cat was my first word, and I still say it. The cat is definitely my favorite part too. Counting on Community has a duck on each page, but I prefer cats. It’s an easier word to say. My favorite animals right now are chickens. There’s a chicken coop close to the library that we go to sometimes so I can see the chickens. I can’t say the word chicken like I can cat, so instead I say “bok bok bok,” which is the sound they make. You can make a lot more animal sounds than I can. I can say meow, bok bok, and moo, but none of the others. I like it when Mommy barks though. Grandma has a new puppy, and maybe I’ll bark for her.

Tilly: Thanks for reading with me, Marian!


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