About Shift Book Box
SHIFT Book Box was a concept sparked by years of deep thinking about inequity, justice, and representation, as well as about the influence of picture books and media on how children form their ideas about the world. What would our culture look like if we all grew up with books that reflected the kind of world that aligned with our value systems? What if same-sex parents were more often presented as everyday characters in stories rather than found only in the “issue” section of bookstores? What if intersectional feminist principles were held high and traditionally marginalized communities of people were regularly portrayed as agentic characters in their own adventures and not as victims or tokens for others’ learning? What if these stories were more frequently TOLD by members of the communities represented? We want to offer more children stories that reveal the lived experiences of people who face oppression and enact resistance. We want more stories that provide families with a lexicon that normalizes and celebrates the myriad of ways of being in this world.
Full disclosure- we are two white women, invested in and committed to doing our own work to dismantle racism within ourselves, our families and our communities. Our deepest intention is to build this service as a platform that will raise up the writers, illustrators, voices, and priorities of people and communities who have been historically marginalized. We hope that this project will aid in the dismantling of racism and other -isms within your families and communities too. We are committed to continuing our own work in these regards and fully acknowledge we are not done. As we grow this project, it is our plan to build partnerships and co-conspire with organizations doing work on the ground lead by and in service to people of color and other traditionally marginalized communities. Your feedback is always welcome!
We have a commitment to decolonize our bookshelves (and yours), and to help scaffold every-day, age-appropriate conversations about diversity, oppression, and resistance. We also have a commitment to highlighting beautiful books. We have heard from parents and educators what a challenge it can be to find and vet these stories. To organically introduce and normalize these conversations, these ideas. In that spirit, we hope you will find these boxes to be a valuable resource to your family and community, and that you will join us in spreading these stories.
We believe that this service will embolden our children to help grow a world that more accurately reflects all of our progressive values. And starting today we can align with and act alongside those who have long been doing the hard work of bending the arc of history toward justice. We hope you will join us in making this SHIFT.
About Rebecca Hachmyer
Rebecca Hachmyer is a credentialed teacher who has worked with students in settings ranging from preschool through university. She is currently completing a doctorate in Education with an emphasis on parenting and child development from the University of California Berkeley. She earned a masters in Children’s Literature from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and currently reviews children’s books for the Horn Book and their Horn Book Guide. She is Co-Chair of the Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County and serves on the committee for Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children's Literature, housed in the University of California Davis’s School of Education. She is a parent and community organizer focused on forwarding intersectional feminism, identifying and dismantling white privilege, and doing the work of a co-conspirator to educate white people about their participation in systems of oppression.
About Chrystal Sunshine
Chrystal Sunshine is a queer artist, educator, community organizer and parent. She provides parents with opportunities to engage in deep conversations and thinking around how to talk with children about inequity, oppression and resistance in authentic, responsible and age-appropriate ways. She has a personal commitment to the rise of intersectional feminism, dismantling racism, homophobia and transphobia. In service to this commitment, she has organized and facilitated several community events designed to provoke this work in her greater surrounding communities. Chrystal is an instructor at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she engages students in understanding principles and elements of design as they relate to deep conceptual explorations and technical undertakings in metal. Chrystal was a managing editor and grant writer for Aorta Magazine, a high-gloss, full color, community funded, collectively produced magazine that featured women, queer and transgender people in the visual and performing arts. She was an active resident of Million Fishes live/work Arts Collective in San Francisco where she worked both as an individual artist and also collaboratively with other residents to produce arts exhibitions, such as the month-long series of visual arts and performance events titled “Queering Mythologies,” a part of the National Queer Arts Festival. This series was curated as an exploration into adult imaginings of what our world would look like if the myths offered to us as children reflected our current identities and values. Chrystal also served as a curatorial assistant and development officer at Femina Potens Gallery in San Francisco- a non-profit art space dedicated to the advancement of women, queer and transgender artists.