Children's Book Author, Early Childhood Education Specialist, Curriculum Developer, Peace Educator, and Social Justice Advocate for Children.
Hello, my name is Lark Sontag. I am a children’s book author and advocate for centering children in discussions of economic justice.
From the age of 5, growing up in Morningside Park, a middle-class Black Los Angeles suburb with my mother, father and twin sister, I would sit on my family’s living room floor with my cat Miss Gwendolyn Brooks and read encyclopedias, Ebony Magazine, Jet, Time, and Newsweek. I read everything I could get my small hands on. Thinking back to hours spent reading my mother’s collection of fiction, which included Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, and Langston Hughes, still makes me smile. I was a dedicated writer from the beginning as well. In fact, I wrote so much and so often that my friends and family knew to expect a handwritten story as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Right after my 7th birthday, on a Friday after school, I got my very own library card in the mail. I jumped up and down. On Saturday morning, I rode my bicycle to the library and checked out my first book, Helen Keller’s Teacher by Margaret Davidson, which told the story of the famous blind writer’s teacher —Anne Sullivan.
After finishing that book, I decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be a teacher who advocated for all children of all abilities to have access and opportunity and I wanted to write stories for kids who are too often left out of the most exciting adventures.
And that is exactly what I did.
After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Mount St. Mary’s University and master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College I developed one of the first general education programs that were inclusive of neurodiverse preschoolers in Los Angeles County. My job as a teacher included not only helping all children to reach their full potential, but also advocating for the rights of disabled children and children of color.
My first children’s book published on Sanctuary Publishing is entitled “What Every Child Should Know.” It inspires children to believe in the kind of world they deserve and create that better world that is possible through acceptance, social cooperation, and —most importantly, action. It covers important movements including “Black Lives Matters” and “Water is Life,” and it instills an understanding of a world that is accepting of differences and respectful of the environment.
My stories anchor the indelible magic of childhood to current-day issues of social justice.
Like children’s book author Shel Silverstein, I want to create books that understand when children see the monsters. And I want to give them the tools to confront and defeat those monsters.
I live in the New York metropolitan area with my husband, Charles and my creamsicle colored cat, Hobbes. I run the Will Start Small Collective which works collaboratively with nonprofits, schools, and social justice groups to create a world where children thrive not just survive by providing technical support, such as creating inclusive classroom libraries and implementing equity standard, in creating classroom learning experiences and programming that is inclusive of all children’s experiences, and professional development that supports dismantling policies and procedures that hurt children both inside and outside the classroom. I also teach early childhood education courses and develop curriculum development. With my and RYT® 200 from Breathe For Change I instruct new teachers how to bring mindfulness to their classroom.
I am the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including The AJ Muste Award (2018), The Pacific Oaks College Community Involvement Award (2017), Center for Cooperative Media Award (2017) and was recognized by the City of Los Angeles for my service to Literary Los Angeles.
My writing has been published in Time, LA Weekly, LA City Beat, Zocalo, Daily News, Next City, Truth Dig, 30 Seconds, and Elephant Journal.
I have presented my work at LACMA, MOCA, Los Angeles Union Station, the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies Library at UCLA, Southwest College, Occidental College, Montclair State University, Left Forum, and NAEYC Annual Conference.
I can highly recommend Lark Sontag. She is always professional and easy to work with. Gets the work done in a timely manner and is a creative thinker with strong problem solving skills.
Ilka Erren Pardiñas
Lark is a focused, passionate, and insightful curator of multimedia and cross-genre events that welcome and unite diverse audiences from across Los Angeles. She is a tenacious advocate.
Riverside City College
Lark Sontag brought a wonderful training to our school that supported us teachers with parent engagement and inclusiveness to our younger VI students.
Frances Blend Elementary