The Wedding Portrait

From the publisher: The Wedding Portrait is an essential book for kids about standing up for what’s right. Here are stories of direct action from around the world that are bookended by the author’s wedding story. He and his bride led their wedding party to a  protest, and were captured in a photo by the local newspaper kissing in front of a line of police just before being arrested. “We usually follow the rules. But sometimes, if you see something is wrong—more wrong than breaking the rules and by breaking the rules you might stop it—you may need to break the rules.” When indigenous people in Colombia block an oil company from destroying their environment—this is a blockade; when Florida farmworkers encourage people not to buy their tomatoes because the farm owners won’t pay them for their hard work—this is called a boycott; and when Claudette Colvin takes a seat in the front of the bus to protest racism—this is called civil disobedience. In brilliantly bright and inspiring illustrations we see ordinary people say No—to unfair treatment, to war, to destroying the environment. Innosanto Nagara has beautifully melded an act of love with crucial ideas of civil disobedience and direct action that will speak to young readers’ sense of right and wrong. There has never been a more important moment for Innosanto Nagara’s gentle message of firm resolve.


“Nagara’s collages represent each story with the impact of political posters. He lays out the different ways that oppressive laws have been successfully resisted while remaining essentially lighthearted, as when he describes spending his wedding day under arrest: “It was like a super long time-out.”

—Publisher’s Weekly (Read the full review)

“Civil disobedience and defiance of unjust laws for the sake of changing them has been a cornerstone of every important change that has ever happened in this country. From the Boston Tea Party to civil rights, from Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter, we have learned that when we do not comply with that which harms most of us, we create more space for the world that can hold all of us. The Wedding Portrait is strikingly simple and yet profound, beautifully illustrated, and that it is written for children is the best part about it. Bold and honest in its description of why sometimes we need to break the rules, it reminds all of us in this political moment that it is this generation that is inheriting this world from us—and thus there is no better time to learn about how breaking the rules can change this country for the better.”

—Alicia Garza
Co-founder, Black Lives Matter

“The Wedding Portrait couldn’t be more timely. In today’s world, one of the most important things we can do for our children is teach them to stand up for their values, even when that means breaking the rules. This charming and inspiring book is a valuable contribution to every kid’s library—and to a more just future for all.”

—Ann Leonard
Executive Director, Greenpeace USA

“The Wedding Portrait is full of inspiring stories about People Power across the globe that our children can relate to and celebrate. This story is a beautiful way to share hope that frontline communities who band together can fight off injustice, but also create the world we want to live in. Direct Action gets the goods!”

—Sharon Lungo
Director, Ruckus Society
Indigenous People’s Power Project