Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas

Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative: edited by Bec Young & Shaun Slifer
Microcosm Publishing,


“If you don’t learn history, and I mean learn it like the way you learn to love music, poetry, and kissing, then the world will always be a mystery to you, and you’ll have to stumble through your days without being able to make any sense of what’s happening, or what you could possibly do differently.”

– from the introduction by Taylor Sparrow


During part of 2008 and all of 2009, I worked with Bec Young to create a collaborative book that we eventually titled Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas. The concept behind Firebrands, which was originally suggested by Microcosm Publishing, was to generate a portrait-centered guide to the myriad of social justice luminaries most people never learn about in high school. Full of new, original artwork Firebrands is an inexpensive yet well-researched book with a solid “further reading” section, primarily aimed at a high school/early college readership level. The model for this book, a graphic “who’s-who” approach to activism for young audiences, has since been emulated in dozens of similar variations by other authors and illustrators. 


While Bec handled the graphic layout and design work, I researched, fact-checked, and wrote significant portions of the content. Firebrands is the first collaborative publication of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.


Introduction by Taylor Sparrow.
Copyediting by Jessie Grey Singer.
Indexing by Molly Fair.


Available first-run copies of Firebrands will be recovered and re-released by the publisher in late 2020.




People's History: Research & Writing