Five Questions With Author Chana Ewing
September always feels like a special month full of promise. It marks the end of summer - a welcome transition into cooler temperatures and rich Fall landscapes - and the excitement of a new school year for our little ones. It also marks the month for many special initiatives like National Hunger Month, a cause close to our hearts through our non-profit partner City Harvest, as well as National Literacy Month, a time to encourage young people to discover the power of reading!
To celebrate National Literacy Month, we spoke with author Chana Ewing for a special-edition of our 'Five Questions With' interview series. Chana's bestselling book 'An ABC of Equality', helps introduce young children to complicated concepts about identity and social justice, through simple explanations and engaging artwork by artist Paulina Morgan. As she celebrates the launch of the book's new hardcover edition, she spoke with us about how reading can empower children and told us about the Trailblazer she looks up to.
What inspired you to write a children's book?
In a children's book you have both the audience of young people and adults. It's an opportunity to tell simpler stories and share complicated ideas to a truly mass audience of all ages. I love the idea that kids and adults get to be in conversation with each other about identity. Our identities impact so much of how we see ourselves and how we are seen, and I wanted to create a tool that clarifies as much as it holds out room for expansion and creativity.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and why?
The first book that comes to mind is "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." I think it was the first time I read something that really made me think about my identity, processing my body and my feelings.
How can reading empower children?
Reading is such a singular and interior experience. It's one of the best ways to learn, grow, and build your specific perspective. Reading takes you on journeys and in the process you find resonance and your own voice.
What trailblazing woman did you look up to when you were younger? Who do you look up to now?
Perhaps then and now, Oprah. I've always been impressed by her incredible personal story and full articulation of her voice. I don't always agree with every venture/decision but I respect that everything she does is in alignment with what we've come to know as her unique voice.
What do you think is the greatest takeaway from your book 'An ABC of Equality'?
I hope the book gives adults an opportunity to unpack their own confusion, privileges and prejudices so that they can be better allies to the children in their lives.