For 2022, our reading theme is #DecolonizeBookshelves2022. Essentially, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:
Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
Every Child A Song [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written by Nicola Davies Illustrated by Marc Martin
Published by Crocodile Books (2020)
ISBN: 1623718724 (ISBN13: 9781623718725) Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
The author, Nicola Davies wrote in her Afterword that the idea for this picturebook was inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) celebrating its 30th ‘birthday’ in 2020. While there are 54 rights of the child listed by the UNCRC, Davies’ lyrical message was mostly driven by 10 articles that she featured in the Afterword.
The entire idea behind our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme is to surface the voices of those who are in the margins and those whose histories have been silenced or buried by those in power. It is our attempt to reclaim that power and sing the song of the most vulnerable, the disenfranchised, the dispossessed.
Nicola Davies with powerful art by Marc Martin make those drowned voices heard through this picturebook:
While there is the overall message of empowerment, there is also an acknowledgment of how some voices are:
“stolen, and made to sing
the tune of darkness,
The hope is that we can all come together, collectively, as human beings to ensure that these rights are protected, and every child’s song raised for the world to hear.
Karapat Dapat (Canvas)
Text and Translation by May Tobias-Papa Illustrated by Ang INK (Ilustrador Ng Kabataan)
Published by CANVAS – Center of Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (2018)
ISBN: 9789719689072 Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
I received a review copy of this book from a late dear friend who used to work for a very progressive publisher in the Philippines, my favourite in fact: CANVAS – Center of Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development which aims to provide free gorgeous books to children in the Philippines.
Unlike the first book, this one attempts to feature practically all the UNCRC Articles in bilingual format: English and Filipino, with art contributed by artists from Ang INK (Ilustrador ng Kabataan). I am highlighting here some of the artwork done by my favourite Filipino artists: for example, Robert Alejandro illustrating Articles 2, 14, 30 (see image below):
Rommel Joson’s interpretation of Article 27:
Lisa Flores’ signature collage art (paper on canvas) for Article 19:
My absolute favourite, Sergio Bumatay III’s surreal artwork for Article 15:
and the fearless Aldy Aguirre’s gouache art for Article 28:
As can be seen in the image above, there is also a playfully interactive nature to this picturebook that makes it even more engaging. I also discovered a few other artists whose work I am not familiar with, but now I am excited to know more. For example, see Paul Eric Roca’s acrylic on canvas interpretation of Article 12:
There is also Angela Taguiang’s mixed media art for Article 22:
and Yas Doctor’s acrylic on canvas interpretation of Articles 3, 4, and 5.
We have such amazingly talented artists from the Philippines. I do hope I can read and feature more of their picturebooks soonest. This is a remarkable picturebook that is freely available here. Download it and share in your classrooms, wherever you may be in the world.
#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 35 out of target 100