In Together, social justice kids book pioneer Innosanto Nagara teams up with poet and activist Mona Damluji for a stunningly tender and pitch-perfect visual feast that juxtaposes individual action with the power of people acting together. Each of the ten free-verse couplets in the poem is spread across four pages of imagery, to make a unique and different kind of board book for young kids to discover with their families.The first illustrated book in which Nagara applies his extraordinary visual imagination to words not his own, Together is simplicity itself–a poem about the transformational change that happens when people stop acting alone and start doing things together. Together is Nagara’s third board book, following the immensely popular social justice board books A is for Activist and Counting on Community (Source).
Author(s): Mona Damluji & Innosanto Nagara
Mona Damluji writes, studies and teaches about oil culture, cinema history and the Middle East as assistant professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She also loves writing for children and the adults who read to them. Mona has curated exhibits and events in the Middle East, Europe and the United States that feature path-breaking international filmmakers, photographers, illustrators and visual artists. She is a co-producer of the Peabody and Emmy-nominated web series The Secret Life of Muslims and works closely with the Arab Film and Media Institute. Mona is a faculty fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She’s currently writing a book about the nexus of oil and film industries in Iraq titled Pipeline Cinema. She serves on the editorial board of the open access journal Media + Environment. Her writing has been published in Jadaliyya, Middle East Insights, Urban History, Arab Studies Journal, International Journal of Islamic Architecture, International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, AMCA, Middle East in London, Abadan Times and elsewhere. Mona lives in California where she dreams up new book ideas and creative projects together with the love of her life and their two hilarious children (Source).
Innosanto Nagara was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, and moved to the U.S. in 1988 to study zoology at UC Davis. But instead of becoming a zoologist he became an activist and a graphic designer. He also writes and illustrates social justice themed children’s books. Inno got his start as a student activist at UC Davis where he discovered his skills as a designer and photographer were effective contributions to organizing. After graduation he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as a freelance designer for a range of activist organizations and campaigns until he joined Inkworks Press Collective in 1995. It was during his time at Inkworks that he started developing the Graphic Design for Social Change principles that have guided his work ever since. In 2002 he launched Design Action Collective. Modeled after Inkworks, Design Action was to be a worker-owned collective union design and strategic communications firm dedicated to serving the Movement for Social Change. The following year, Inno proposed what was to become Designs on Democracy: Communication for Liberation—a national convening of design and communications activists aiming to share strategies and build community. Inno continues to do creative cultural activism through graphic design, visual communications, and cultural strategy projects (as an advisor to reSet). He is also very active in the broader children’s book world. Inno serves on the Editorial board of TheBullHorn.org, an online magazine dedicated to social justice-themed children’s books and their creators. He is a regular collaborator with and advisor to Wee the People in Boston. And he is involved in local Bay Area organizing and skill-sharing for #OwnVoices authors and illustrators.Inno and his partner Kristi Laughlin and their child live in the cohousing community they helped build in North Oakland. He also trains and teaches martial arts at Suigetsukan, a collectively run dojo near Lake Merritt (Source).