Oakland-based children’s book author and illustrator Innosanto Nagara — whose works engage readers in discussions about social justice and activism — has his first East Coast tour this week. The visit will include two Monday stops in Boston, a city that he says has embraced his work.
“I am interested to see how different the East Coast is,” Nagara told the Globe before his trip. “Oakland obviously is a place where a lot of the families are already interested in [activism],” he said. “If book sales and that kind of thing are any indicator, it seems like there are many pockets around the country where the books do really well. Minnesota. Boston. New York.”
Nagara’s most well-known release is the 2012 board book “A is for activist,” which explores topics such as civil rights and social justice by way of the alphabet (“B is for banner,” “C is for co-op,” etc.). Nagara followed it up with “Counting on Community,” and then appealed to older kids with “My Night in the Planetarium” and his October release, “The Wedding Portrait.” The new book is about protest and civil disobedience.
Nagara said the story — which he frames with a wedding — is meant to help kids understand “why we sometimes have to break the rules if the rules are wrong.” Nagara added, “Social justice did not just start with [President Donald] Trump — but I think a lot of people now are activated and motivated to have these conversations.”
Nagara will talk about the release with readers of all ages during his stay. From 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, he’ll be at Roxbury’s Frugal Bookstore leading an interactive workshop for children with Wee the People. From 7 to 8:30 p.m. he’ll be at the Jamaica Plain Public Library with local bookstore Papercuts. The night — also sponsored by Triangle Square Books/Seven Stories Press — will be a book-signing and conversation for parents, caregivers, and educators.
Nagara said he’s excited to be in the community meeting readers, especially the young ones. That’s where his ideas come from.
“After every book, I doubt that I’ll ever have another story to tell again. But then when I’m out there, hanging out with the kids and stuff, these stories come out and then people will say, ‘Well that could be your next book.’ ”
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