With a thoughtful story and lush watercolor illustrations, Desmond Gets Free introduces young readers to timely and nuanced concepts of justice and liberation in a kid-friendly way.

A 2022 Silver Nautilus Award Winner in the Children’s Illustrated/Fiction category

Product Code: 3668
ISBN: 9781558969056
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 40
Published Date: 02/15/2023
Availability:In stock
Price: $14.00

A 2022 Silver Nautilus Award Winner in the Chidren’s Illustrated/Fiction category

To watch our Nautilus Author Spotlight Video click here.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Every morning Desmond the mouse wakes with the sunrise and spends the day playing in the beautiful meadow where he lives. And every night he goes to sleep under the starry sky. That is until one night he wakes up and finds an elephant asleep on his tail! Desmond asks for help from every kind of animal passing by but no one wants to disturb the sleeping giant. How will Desmond get free?

With Matt Meyer’s thoughtful story and lush watercolor illustrations by artist Khim Fam, Desmond Gets Free introduces young readers to timely and nuanced concepts of justice and liberation in a kid-friendly and accessible way.

This book is also available in audiovisual digital format through the Skinner House Books channel of Cine-Books. By agreement between Skinner House and Cine-Books, purchasing a Cine-Books edition of a Skinner House book automatically comes with permission to stream the video, audio, or audiovideo content online as part of a Unitarian Universalist community’s worship and programming. For streaming during Zoom gatherings, adjust Zoom settings to share sound for best sound quality.

Ages 4–8.

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“Silly mouse,” said the Giraffe, “That’s no boulder! That’s an elephant that’s fallen asleep in the middle of the meadow, just on your tail.”

“Well, if you could just wake the elephant and ask him to roll over just a bit in the other direction, I could go free!”

“Well,” replied the Giraffe, “you know what they say about letting sleeping elephants lie. I find it’s best not to get involved in other animals’ business.”

Desmond quietly replied, “Well I do not appreciate your neutrality.”

“I love this book! Khim Fam’s illustrations bring Desmond Tutu’s enduring quote to life, while Matt Meyer cleverly navigates the metaphor to teach young readers about the power of community action.”
—Innosanto Nagara, author and illustrator of A is for Activist, Counting on Community, and M is for Movement

“Beautiful watercolor illustrations enhance this timely parable about the dangers of indifference and the rewards of solidarity.”
—Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author of God’s Paintbrush, The Story of AND: The Little Word That Changed the World, and Who is My Neighbor? with Amy-Jill Levine

"Desmond Gets Free is a delightful parable about the power of organizing, collective action, and community. Perfect for small children, this story simply but compellingly shows that no matter how small we are alone, we are infinitely powerful when we work together."
—Ashley Horan, Organizing Strategy Director, Unitarian Universalist Association

“This charming tale of Desmond’s tail is a gentle way to explore issues of justice, power, teamwork, and perspective. In a world that is often unfair, this story will encourage readers to think about their values and why the choice to do something or nothing matters—no matter how small the outcome may seem.”
—Keith Kron

"While Desmond Gets Free is busy introducing children ages four to eight to the importance of being an ally, it meaningfully pricks the conscience of adults who share the book with young readers. Our hats are off to Meyer and Fam for seeing the potential in Archbishop Tutu's quote and reminding us all to foster compassionate understanding that leads to action."Spirituality & Practice

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