Three Books to Inspire, Inform Young Activists

books for young activists

“What Can a Citizen Do?” by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris
c.2018, Chronicle Kids
$17.99 / $24.25 Canada
40 pages

“If You’re Going to a March” by Martha Freeman, illustrated by Violet Kim
c.2018, Sterling Children’s Books
$16.95 / $22.95 Canada
32 pages

“We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,” edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson, foreword by Ashley Bryan
c.2018, Crown Books for Young Readers
$18.99 / $24.99 Canada
88 pages

Someone you know went to a march this summer.

It was a pretty big deal, but it sounded like fun: It was a time for people to gather and take advantage of their rights. That’s something you’d like to do, too, someday, and with these three books, you’ll see how you can start getting involved.

First of all, never say you’re “just” a kid. Kids can make a difference, as you’ll see in What Can a Citizen Do?” by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris.

No matter who you are or what you look like, there are lots of things you can do for change: You can plant a tree, help a neighbor, or write letters. You can save a bear, be a bear, or make life better for bears. And yes, you can even march.

If that’s the plan, there are things you’ll need and If You’re Going to a March” by Martha Freeman, illustrated by Violet Kim has ideas. You’ll want a sign, for instance, and this book tells you how to make one. You’ll learn what to wear, what to carry in a backpack, and how to stay safe on the march. It also reminds young readers to be polite because “democracy looks like disagreement, too.”

And finally, if you’ve been putting a lot of thought into how you feel, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,” edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson, will help you think deeper about what you can do through essays, poems, stories, art, and memories. This book offers different ways of looking at dissent and how to know what’s right for you. It also helps readers to feel a connection with history, and protestors from generations past.

This fall, you and your child are going to see a pretty big election occur. You’re also going to see a lot of books about citizenship, getting involved, and First Amendment rights. These are three that are worth a look.

Five-to-seven-year-olds who don’t have access to a city-wide march will appreciate what’s inside “What Can a Citizen Do?”  This book offers plenty of ideas for action that don’t necessarily involve organizations – things like helping neighbors or keeping the environment clean. Children who crave simplicity will like this book.

“If You’re Going to a March” is for roughly the same age group, but it lists tips and hints for more hands-on kids who really want to get into the thick of things.

For older children – ages roughly 8 to 14 – “We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices” offers more of a chance for introspection on activism. It also doubles as a bit of history and strength for kids whose values may clash with friends, family, or classmates.

Your child knows what’s going on in the world. If she wants to participate, these books can help both of you to get started. “If You’re Going to a March,” “We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,” and “What Can a Citizen Do?” are books to march out and get.

1 I like it
0 I don't like it

When Terri Schlichenmeyer was three years old, her long-suffering mother taught Terri to read – mostly to get her out of Mom's hair – and the book most likely to be read was “Mumpsy Goes to Kindergarten.” That was eons ago, but it set a precedent; now Terri reads four to five books a week and writes book reviews for hundreds of newspapers and magazines around the world. She lives in a house on a hill in Wisconsin with two ferocious little dogs and 14,000 books – including about 4,000 trivia books, 2,000 history books, and, yes, "Mumpsy."