When you’re young and you first discover punk, you’re not only discovering the music, you’re discovering a new way of life. I was 16 the first time I knew I loved punk. For me, it was the music first, and the ideals the music espoused second, but it was the latter that shaped the person I’ve grown into today.
I also remember the first time I embodied both the fashion and the ethic of punk. I wrote obscenities and anarchy symbols all over my white shoes and tan-and-blue jacket, as if I were a walking message board for the Anarchist party. The looks I received were fascinating, and satisfied my need to both attract attention and offend the viewer. That’s why The ABC’s of Anarchy, written and illustrated by Brian Heageny, is a wonderful concept for a children’s book. It brings together the learning of the ABC’s while incorporating new thoughts and viewpoints for young’uns to ponder at an earlier age than 16.
You know you’re doing something right when a member of anarchist pop ensemble Chumbawamba endorses your book. “Yes. Interesting. I love what you’re doing,” quips Chumba guitarist and vocalist Boff Whaley on Heageny’s official website. (Chumbawamba came out of retirement upon the death of Margaret Thatcher to release a scathing, seven-song eulogy. It’s brutal. Listen to it below, and you’ll see that anarchy doesn’t always have to be screaming punk. Anarchy can be soft, sweet and just as raging — kind of like this book.)
The art in The ABC’s of Anarchy is clever and inclusive, making sure races, ethnic groups and the handicapped are represented. The line drawings harken to the classic renderings of Edward Gorey. Just beautiful.
Of course, we know that pure anarchy does not work. Order always arises from even the most chaotic political and social situations. But as a way to keep the brain waves flowing and the questioning of authority figures strong, The ABC’S of Anarchy is a beautifully illustrated book for baby anarchists who want to learn their letters — like M is for Mutual Aid, S is for Squat, D is for D.I.Y. (And A is for, well, I’ll let you figure that out on your own.)
Awesome book. Stupid government.
You can purchase The ABC’s of Anarchy from AK Press.