Sophia Valdez’s Big Project Book for Awesome Activists

Sophia Valdez’s Big Project Book for Awesome Activists
Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams Books for Young Readers

As the author says on the title page, ‘It’s a big world with lots of problems to solve. Just remember: No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.’ That’s very much the spirit of this project book from Sophia Valdez, the newest member of The Questioneers.

It begins with an introductory story about Sophia and how she was the inspiring spark behind the creation of a new park for the people of Blue River Creek.

Thereafter are a series of over forty activities, some related to that, all aimed to inspire even quite young children, suggesting how they can make a difference in their own communities through supporting causes close to their hearts, writing to local officials, and finding out how democracy and government are supposed to work.

There are puzzles, word searches, drawing and a wealth of other ideas connected to activism, some related to an imagined new town on planet Glorg, others to real world problems.

‘Activism begins with kindness’. I like that: it’s the introduction to one of the activities herein.

Indeed all the attributes that an activist needs are elucidated in this empowering, highly practical look at campaigning and activism.

Whether their cause is education for all, plastic pollution, affordable homes in your locality, or something else, this book could be a starting point for one of tomorrow’s leaders.

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote
Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Amulet Books

The Questioneers – Sofia and her friends – return in a new chapter book adventure and just in time for the USA election. It’s also time for Sophia and her classmates to have an election to select what animal should be their class pet – another one of their teacher, Miss Greer’s ‘Learning Experiences’.

Clearly there won’t be a perfect candidate that everyone wants so the ‘best one’ will have to do, so says Abuelo as they walk home together; moreover, the pet must be small enough to fit (inside its home) on the bookcase. Eventually the list of possibles is whittled down to five contenders and then just two.

When Sofia is put in charge of managing the election (as election commissioner) things are tricky, as the candidates backed by two of her best pals are against each other.

Pretty soon Sofia learns that being i-c a fair election is more than a little challenging. It’s fortunate however, that she has both Abuela’s wise advice and assistance from the local library to act as guidance.

Highly entertaining and superbly explained, Andrea Beaty’s story contains a number of messages about classroom relationships and community, as well as imparting vital points about freedom of information, good journalism, a boycott, fake news, and that about there never being a perfect candidate in an election. And if things haven’t got spicy enough, there’s even a baking tip or two included and of course, all those smashing illustrations and diagrams from David Roberts.