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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Counting on Community is Innosanto Nagara's follow-up to his hit ABC book, A is for Activist.

Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens--and always counting on each other--children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities, and the agency they posses to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page!

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“Meaningful change begins with doing small things at the local level, like picking up trash on the street, helping a neighbor, planting a community garden. Counting on Community encourages our children to embrace the power within each of us to create the world anew, to become SOLUTIONARIES.”

“Not only is Counting on Community an endearing an beautifully illustrated book, it represents the best hopes and dreams for our communities.”

“Innosanto Nagara is writing a new kind of children's book. Besides being a fun, rhythmic, and lively text to read, the book's illustrations present a world of diversity and complex, inclusive beauty. We should shower our children, schools, libraries, and our communities with books like this one.”

“In this powerful concept book follow-up to A Is for Activist, Nagara tackles counting. Typical urban neighborhood pastimes are depicted with verve and vibrant colors, including working in community gardens and drawing with sidewalk chalk. Young readers will have fun trying to locate an ever-present duck on each spread. Racial and ethnic diversity is celebrated on every page, and the lyrical text will inspire budding and longtime activists alike.”

“At last, a counting book that will speak to all kinds of different people, living in diverse environments! Counting on Community has real-world content that breaks up stereotypes while teaching.”

“The decision to publish it as a board book could, in itself, be considered an act of taking a stand and giving voice. This is not a book adapted into a board book, but an intentional decision to create a space that values our youngest readers as those who should be invited into the conversation ... [W]hat I think Innosanto captures so poignantly ... are the little ways of showing up: shared meals, celebrations, making art and music, working and playing together. Because of this, and the the style of illustration that you describe, I am able to find my community (which is currently the middle of a rainforest in Panama) between these pages. These illustrations allow us to see ourselves and to consider the ways we contribute to and are nourished by our communities–or perhaps, the things we wish we paid more attention to.”

“A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot… Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in… Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.”

“... a counting book that celebrates active communities, devoting pages to everything from urban farming and chalk drawing to potlucks and protests… Nagara’s vibrant digital collages hum with energy as a multicultural crew of children and adults work, play, and collaborate. Brushed, woodgrain-style textures lend an organic feel to the images, while radiating lines in the backgrounds emphasize the idea that close-knit communities like this one have real power.”

blog — December 08

Seven Stories Joins Broad Coalition to Condemn Coordinated Political Attack on Books in Schools

We are proud to join over 400 signatories, including 16 fellow publishers, over 50 bookstores, nearly 80 organizations, and over 250 authors, teachers and librarians, to sign the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement against censorship in schools, and in support of historically marginalized students.

Most of the challenged books address topics previously underrepresented in libraries and school curriculums: books that address racism and other forms of discrimination, and those that include positive multicultural representation. While presented as ways to "depoliticize school" or "protect kids" from so-called challenging topics, these book bans are clearly attempts to further stigmatize LGBTQ students and students of color, and to promote nationalism at the expense of education.

As publisher of several books cited as problematic or inappropriate — such as the gender-inclusive sex education books by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth and social justice-oriented picture books by Innosanto Nagara — we strongly condemn these attempts to censor school libraries.

As the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement (see below) concludes: Freedom of expression ensures that we can meet the challenges of a changing world. That freedom is critical for the students who will lead the world in the years ahead. We must fight to defend it. #BooksNotBans

December 8, 2021 New York, NY-- The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) leads a coalition of over 400 signatories in condemning the coordinated political attack on books in schools playing out across the country. As a staunchly non-partisan organization dedicated to defending students’ right to read for nearly 50 years, NCAC is gravely concerned by the increasing number of school districts allowing the personal viewpoints of some to determine what books all students are allowed to access. 

Policies already exist in most districts to allow individual concerned parents to influence what their own children read. This year, time and again, we have seen those policies ignored and repeatedly violated as books are removed without proper review based on the personal opinions of particular groups of people. We have also seen increasing reports of threats to the livelihood and safety of librarians, teachers, school administrators and school board officials who do not accede to the demands of these would-be censors. No individual or group has the right to impose their beliefs on others. School officials, as government actors, have a First Amendment responsibility to ensure that no particular viewpoint or belief is allowed to dictate what all students can learn and read.

NCAC is joined by over 400 signatories, including nearly 80 organizations, over 50 bookstores and 17 publishers and over 250 individual stakeholders, comprising authors, teachers and librarians.

Full statement and list of signatories available here

A media factsheet is available here

More information on the First Amendment in schools is available here

Guidelines and best practices for book challenge policies are available here

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Children’s book author and illustrator Innosanto Nagara’s books encourage children to grow up with confidence in themselves, and to be proactive citizens who are passionate about causes from environmental issues to LGBTQ rights and civil rights. Born and raised in Indonesia, Inno moved to the US in 1988. After studying zoology and philosophy at UC Davis, Inno moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a graphic designer for a range of social change organizations before founding the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio. Inno lives in Oakland in a cohousing community with nine adults and eight kids.

Inno’s first book, A is for Activist, started a movement in social justice book publishing for children. After it came Counting on Community, then My Night in the Planetarium and The Wedding Portrait. M is for Movement is the fifth title written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara.

Inno’s books stand in solidarity with people of all ages, races, gender identifications, and backgrounds. They suggest that your family isn’t only yourself and your parents but also the community in which you live, the histories of those around you, and the natural environment on which we depend for our food and water and air. The ideas in Inno’s books may sometimes sound controversial, but they speak to us in a language that is pure common sense and in tune with our natural wishes and inclinations as human beings.